If you’re going to go to the trouble of forming a mentee / mentor relationship you might as well make sure the unity is a meaningful one. Building a strong bond will take time and effort (on both sides), but if you want to reap the benefits it’s definitely worth linking up with the right person. So, what can you expect from a mentor/mentee relationship? First off let’s get a brief definition of a mentor and mentee.

What Is a Mentor?

The mentor is an individual with experience, knowledge and insight to share. He or she has usually achieved a measurable amount of success in their own life, and this provides a sound platform for providing assistance to others.  

What Is a Mentee?

The mentee is looking for support. He or she could be looking for help with a current role or project, seeking guidance on identifying, setting and reaching goals or trying to figure out where to go next with their career.  

The Roles of the Mentor / Mentee

The most effective mentor-mentee relationships are based upon trust and mutual respect. Communication is vital, and whilst it’s advisable for both parties to strike up a comfortable friendship, it’s also wise to keeps things on a professional level. Let’s take it one step further and find out what a mentor and mentee should bring to the table: 

The Mentor

Being a mentor requires a degree of responsibility. The mentor will be helping the mentee to realise his or her potential, therefore a mentor should:

Be available:

We’re not talking 24/7 accessibility, but the mentor shouldn’t be too busy to maintain regular contact with the mentee.  

Offer guidance:

The mentor should offer relevant advice, helping the mentee to work through any issues.

Share Experience:

Mentors often have a wealth of experience; they have often dealt with problems of their own and worked through similar situations.

Identify objectives: 

The mentor should bring a sense of clarity to meetings, working closely with the mentee to pinpoint specific aims and goals.

Suggest a Plan of Action:

The mentor can help the mentee to clearly identify the steps required to reach the end goal(s).

To listen:

Alongside offering ideas and sharing opinions, the mentor also needs to listen. Sometimes the mentee will be looking for a sounding board rather than a solution to a specific problem.

Hold the Mentee Accountable:

Although the mentor needs to cheer on the mentee, he or she also needs to ensure the mentee is held accountable. Tough love may be required from time to time!

Offer encouragement:

The mentor should offer positivity and motivate the mentee to keep going and strive for success.

Offer unbiased perspective

The mentor should also draw on his or her own know how to offer objectivity and an outside perspective, there’s no room for bias, so any prejudice should be left at the door!

The Role of The Mentee

To get the most from the mentor / mentee relationship, the mentee needs to show that he or she is dedicated to achieving success. The mentee should:

 Outline hopes and ideals:

The mentee needs to provide a clear picture of what they require help with and where they see themselves in the future.

Be honest:

The mentee should never just say what he or she thinks the mentor wants to hear. The mentor will need to rely on the mentee being honest in order to provide support.

Listen:

The mentee should take on board what the mentor has to say, even if they aren’t 100% sure that they always agree!  

Act on what’s been said:

Listening and absorbing is one thing, but the mentee needs to act on the information provided. He or she needs to do something worthwhile with the knowledge gained.

Willing to take risks:

We’re talking measured risks, rather than recklessness, but the mentee needs to be unafraid to try new things and explore new concepts.

Eagerness to learn:

The mentor will impart lots of wisdom and mentee needs to eagerly take this on board. The ideal mentee should have a thirst for knowledge and a keenness to expand their horizons.

Building the Foundations of a Great Mentor/ Mentee Relationship

Building a good mentee / mentor relationship will require patience and determination. The mentor should remember they were once in the same position as the mentee, in that they too were once seeking enlightenment and encouragement. The mentee needs to keep in mind that the mentor is offering his or her time on a voluntary basis, and are taking time out to offer their insight.

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