Working with a business mentor is one of the best ways to boost your skills and broaden your knowledge. It’s a chance to work with a role model in an ongoing, professional relationship that helps you cultivate success and determination.
How can you make sure you are getting the most out of your mentoring experience?
Be prepared to embrace enthusiasm, acceptance, honesty, and the occasional risk. Of course, it doesn’t just stop there. The following tips will help you enjoy a valuable mentoring experience:
Stick to a meeting schedule
For a mentoring program to be successful, you need to show dedication. To ensure your schedule works for both parties, consider the following:
- Meet in a place that’s mutually convenient;
- Try serviced offices where you’re away from the distractions of your workplace and colleagues;
- Don’t make excuses – turn up to each meeting with an open mind;
- Prepare for your meetings, and know what you want to discuss.
Learn to accept criticism
There’ll be times when your success will shine through and others when you fail. All feedback is good feedback, regardless of how it makes you feel. When accepting feedback:
- Be receptive, even when it’s not what you want to hear;
- Filter it through a growth mindset;
- Let go of any perfectionism and be prepared to make mistakes;
- Remember that making mistakes is how we learn.
By accepting and learning from constructive criticism, you’ll build resilience and the determination it takes to succeed.
Ditch the comfort zone
You have to be prepared to make some changes. A mentor should push you out of your comfort zone and encourage you to try new approaches. When working with your mentor, be prepared to:
- Take some risks and try new things;
- Question your beliefs and look at scenarios differently;
- Figure out your limitations and push through them.
Honesty is the best policy
Don’t stress over anything alone. It’s important to accept feedback, but it’s equally important to provide it to your mentor. Remember to tell them if you feel confused. They can only offer clarity and adjust their approach if they know you’re struggling. To get the most out of your mentor, you need to:
- Describe how you would like to be helped;
- Share your successes and failures openly;
- Explain to your mentor how you think the mentorship is going – this feedback will help them improve;
- If phone meetings are difficult, explain why and discuss the alternatives.
Know your goals
One of the main reasons for having a mentor is to help you learn and grow. If you aren’t sure about your goals, talk this through with your mentor in the first meeting. Mentoring works best when you stick to the following parameters:
- Set short, medium, and long term goals;
- Set expectations for the mentoring;
- Discuss and reassess your goals with your mentor regularly.
Knowing your goals gives you clarity and focus.
Motivation is the key to success
A mentor can help you focus on what’s important and stay motivated and productive. They’ve walked in your shoes already and can pass on tips and ideas to help you out when challenges arise. Throughout your mentoring experience, it’s important to:
- Remain enthusiastic and positive;
- Share any concerns with your mentor;
- Hold yourself accountable.
A mentorship program should never be one-sided. Apply all these principles, and it will provide a sense of achievement to both mentor and mentee. Who knows? Perhaps you’ll take all these skills and become a mentor yourself one day.