Becoming a Mentee

3 Things All Mentees Should Know

Mentorship and sponsorship are key drivers of success, yet it can be hard to find mentors and sponsors, especially ones with influence. The good news is that we can mentor other each other at any stage in our careers, and it pays off when we do. People with mentors feel supported and are often more satisfied with their career.

Use the tips below to be the best mentee you can be, and remember, like all good relationships, mentorship is a two-way street.

1.   Your mentor’s time is valuable—treat it that way

Show your mentor you value their time by using it wisely. Avoid meeting just to catch up or asking questions you can find answers to yourself. Instead, come to your mentor with thoughtful questions and be ready to discuss real challenges you’re facing. Then listen carefully to their recommendations and report back on your progress. Your mentor is more likely to continue to invest in you if you’re acting on their input—and if they see the impact they are having on your career.

2.   View feedback as a gift

Mentees don’t always get the direct input they need to be their best selves because coworkers may be nervous about eliciting an emotional response.  Make sure you don’t fall into this trap with your mentor. Solicit their feedback whenever you can by asking specific questions like, “How can I improve?” and “What am I not doing that I should be?” The more you ask for and accept feedback, the faster you’ll learn—and odds are your mentor will respect your openness and willingness to grow.

3.   Build trust with your mentor

Over time mentors can develop into sponsors who use their status and clout to create opportunities and make connections for you. Before your mentor will sponsor you, they need to trust that you are reliable and a bet worth making. To build trust, always follow through on what you say you’re going to do and always do your very best work. When you’re consistent over time, you build valuable trust with your mentor—and your coworkers.

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