The mentee drives the mentoring relationship, which allows them to steer this in the direction that suits them. Mentors have volunteered their time to support students and recent graduates, in addition to their current job, so it's important to utilise their time (and yours) most effectively.
By being a mentee on this scheme, this will be a great way for you to gain skills on managing a professional relationship, managing your time and ensuring you achieve what you set out to do initially. This could be in terms of confidence, sector knowledge and insight into sourcing and being successful with work experience opportunities.
Consider what makes you an effective mentee such as your core skill set that you have developed at university and how this can be transferred to this mentoring programme.
In order to achieve this you need to understand the different perspectives of a mentoring relationship:
Examples of characteristics of an effective mentee:
- Willing to learn
- Focussed on personal development
- Comfortable being challenged
- Flexible and open-minded
- Willing to move out of their 'comfort zone'
- Confidence to ask for advice and share concerns
- Reflects on experience
Furthermore, to make the most of the opportunity and to build an effective mentoring relationship, it's important to consider the above and the following:
Be proactive - it will be the mentee's responsibility to arrange meetings, understand what they hope to achieve and keeping their mentor informed about how the mentoring relationship is progressing.
Time management - communication is key so keeping on top of your emails and attending meetings on time will help to let the relationship flow. But if you are trying to work on this, let your mentor know this as early on as possible.
Examples of characteristics of an effective mentor:
- Active listener
- Good communicator
- Offers advice
- Challenges the mentee
It is useful to understand the mentor's perspective as it is a two way process and relationship. Your mentor wants to also gain something too.
Below are some attributes your mentor will be aiming for:
Being supportive - they are there to offer insight into their career but you will need to determine how often the meetings are and what are the preferred communication methods.
Sharing knowledge - your mentor will be willing to share their knowledge but please remember mentors may not have all the answers. It's crucial to be prepared for all interactions, as mentors will have a lot to share but it is up to you to ask effective questions to gain these answers.
To develop a successful mentoring partnership, the relationship needs key attributes from both the mentor and mentee:
- Trust and respect
- Ongoing and effective communication
A successful mentoring relationship is a process of two-way learning that is ‘student/graduate-centred’ and steered by the mentee.