GREENSBORO, N.C. — January is National Mentoring Month. As much as we want to succeed all by ourselves, sometimes, we need a little help from someone who’s already been through it. We’ll all hear about mentors, but let’s dig a little deeper.
Mentors aren’t only for young people who are starting in their careers. People transitioning from one job to another can benefit from a mentor. Or those who are leaving corporate America to create their businesses. Or people who are struggling at work. Mentors are for anyone who wants guidance in doing well in their careers.
You shouldn’t arbitrarily ask someone to be your mentor. Figure out whose career you admire and how that person can help you. What trials and tribulations have they worked through? What puts them in a unique position to help you?
Your role as a mentee is to be coachable. Being open to suggestions, ideas, and constructive feedback. This also means that you talk about what’s working and isn’t working and, together with your mentor, figure out the best plan of action.
MAINTAINING A MENTOR AND MENTEE RELATIONSHIP
A common problem between mentors and mentees is that the mentee isn’t coachable. It can be difficult for a mentee to accept advice from a mentor, which strains the mentor-mentee relationship. Many times, it’s the ego that gets in the way. We all have pride, and you tend to feel that you should do it alone. It’s a counterintuitive way to think, considering you’re seeking advice from a mentor.
A great way to avoid problems is to talk about expectations for you, the mentee, and the mentor. If you don’t talk about expectations and roles, it can cause miscommunication because you might think differently about mentorship. And then disappointment and tension can set in.
To get the most out of the mentorship, you, the mentee, should be proactive. Be prepared for meetings with your mentor. What issues do you struggle with? What have you
Tried? What’s worked? And what hasn’t worked? And why do you think it hasn’t worked? Hit Google for answers before you talk to your mentor. A mentor is to guide, not do everything for you. Also, be open to constructive feedback. Not everything a mentor says will be positive, but the information is to help you.
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