I'm not sure if mentee is a proper word, but it should be. So much has been written about the importance of finding a mentor, but when you get one, what is your role as the mentee?
First, consider the reasons a mentor is showing an interest in you. They might enjoy coaching/developing others. They might be setting up a network of their own throughout the organization. They might see your success assuring their success. They might be doing it out of obligation to a third party. Or they might just enjoy your company.
However you got into the role, the question still remains: How can you be a great mentee? Some ideas:
1) Deliver on your promises. Make sure that when you commit to doing something at your mentor's suggestion, you deliver to a standard of excellence.
2) Return the favour. What are your mentor's hot buttons? Can you help them solve their problems?
3) Return the favour to others. Is there anyone that you can mentor, in turn? You will find that you learn as much from your mentee as from your mentor.
4) Maintain the confidence. Don't broadcast any of your discussions, and consider whether a discreet relationship will avoid jealous feelings from colleagues.
5) Keep your mentor informed. Whenever you act on their advice, circle back to let them know the outcome. It's tough giving advice, without knowing the outcome.
6) Show appreciation. They are giving you two priceless gifts: their experience and their time. Remember to say thank you with your words and deeds.
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Make It Happen
Copyright © 2006 Knowledge to Action Press and Randall Craig. All rights reserved. Publication date: May 23, 2006