A mentoring relationship is great, having so many benefits that not a lot of people realize. Starting and maintaining such a professional relationship is something that slips through the radar of many people, often citing that it is a white collar job thing. The truth is, mentoring can happen anywhere, regardless of the industry and the size of the company.
As with anything else professional, there is a right and wrong way to approach mentorship. If you are considering starting a mentoring relationship (and you should), here are six ways to go about it and set the proper tone.
It seems like an obvious point, but while a mentoring relationship is mostly professional, sometimes people get along on a personal level. In fact, it’s not uncommon for the mentor and mentee to be friends (or have already been friends prior), but a level of professionalism should always be considered most especially at the beginning.
Your mentor is taking their own precious time to help you, and time is something of high value that can’t be earned back. The fact that a mentor is giving a chunk of their time to help you out is a high indication of their willingness to help you. It is an investment in you and your future, so that in itself is already reason enough to show appreciation. It allows you to show and convince your mentor that you are a worthy investment in their time and effort.
Add Value to the Relationship
While the mentor gives you knowledge, don’t just take and take – try to find ways to be a giver as well. The mentor can learn from the mentee just as well, so look for opportunities to add value to your mentoring relationship such as sharing of experiences and asking thought-provoking questions. Try to set some common goals so both of you can learn from each other.
Your attitude towards your mentor should be as engaging as possible. He or she is willing to invest in the relationship, and so should you. When you ask someone to mentor you, the last thing you want to do is to not keep things flowing. Inject energy, enthusiasm, and an overall positive attitude into the situation, and not just at the beginning!
In one of the previous points, it’s been discussed that the mentor is taking time from their lives in order to help you. It probably goes without saying, but being flexible is really important. Try to work around their schedule in alignment with yours and not the other way around.
Last, but definitely not the least, be compelling. This is especially true for when you first request them to be your mentor. You have to convince them of why they should agree and what benefit it would give them and not just yourself.
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