LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

Tips for Being an Effective Mentee

MARISA GIFT, TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT MANAGER

We recently discussed tips on how to be a more effective mentor but we all know it takes two to tango!  According to Forbes, employees on the other side of the mentoring table – mentees – “were promoted FIVE times more often than people who didn’t have mentors.”  Here are some tips for increasing the value of your mentoring relationship by being a more effective mentee:

 

Drive the relationship

As a mentee, you need to initiate contact with your mentor and be proactive about scheduling time to meet.  Also, meet on your mentor’s terms by determining a time and location that works best for her schedule.  Come prepared for each meeting by setting an agenda in advance.  The more you prepare, the more you will get out of your time together.  Remember, this is about your development so you need to drive the relationship.

Ask the right questions

The best questions are those that present options to your mentor and then seek advice on how to think about those options.  In other words, rather than asking “Which job should I choose?” ask “I’m deciding between these two jobs, which each offer these benefits and these drawbacks.  What do you think?”  This type of question shows that you did your homework as a mentee and also promises a more helpful response from your mentor.

Listen, yet remain true to you

A mentor’s job is to offer honest feedback, including constructive advice.  Carefully consider what your mentor has to say and consider how you can use the information to better yourself.  At the same time, a good mentor will know a person needs a mind of her own to be successful so you are not required to be your mentor’s “mini-me.”  You are, however, expected to either follow through on your mentor’s advice or have a conversation if you are skeptical.  Do not drop the ball when it comes to follow-up.

 

Show an interest in your mentor (not just her advice)

Think about what you have to offer your mentor.  It could be as simple as forwarding articles that you know will be of interest or gathering some helpful tips for a new software your organization has launched.  The American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division calls this “developing reciprocity” and there’s no better way to ensure a mentoring relationship will endure for the long haul.

 

Show appreciation

Dale Carnegie, a relationship-building expert, said that giving “honest, sincere appreciation” is one of the best ways to win friends and influence people.  Remember to thank your mentor and let her know she makes a difference.  Also, be specific about how your mentor has been helpful.  If you express how a mentor has been helpful in the past, you are also giving guidance for how to best assist you in the future.

 

These tips combined with our previous discussion of the mentor side confirm that the best mentoring relationships will offer mutual rewards!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

402.496.8800

mgift@lutz.us

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MARISA GIFT + TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT MANAGER

Marisa Gift is the Training and Development Manager at Lutz with over 15 years of experience. She helps shape the firm’s training and development strategy while also managing Lutz’s campus recruiting, orientation and mentoring programs.

AREAS OF FOCUS
  • Human Resources
  • Training
  • Leadership Development
  • Campus Recruiting
  • Performance
AFFILIATIONS AND CREDENTIALS
  • Association for Talent Development, Member
  • Human Resource Association of the Midlands, Member
  • Society for Human Resource Management, Member
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
  • BA in Communication Studies & Politics, Drake University, Des Moines, IA
  • MA in Communication, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
COMMUNITY SERVICE
  • Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Publicity Committee
  • Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Music Ministry
  • Drake University National Alumni Board of Directors, Past Board Member

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