The Mentor-Mentee Relationship: 3 Keys to Getting it Right

The Mentor-Mentee Relationship: 3 Keys to Getting it Right

Are you wondering how to get ahead as you start out in your industry? Or are you a seasoned veteran who’d like to help the next generation of professionals become leaders? In either case, you’re probably interested in a mentor-mentee relationship. These types of relationships don’t just happen. They have to be intentional. They have to be done right. Here’s how.

Purpose and Goals

One important aspect of a mentor-mentee relationship is understanding the purpose and goals of the arrangement. Many times people confuse mentoring with coaching. In reality, the goals of mentoring and the focus of the relationship are different than coaching. In coaching, the recipient is looking to learn a specific skill and may be taught by a colleague or their boss. In mentoring, the mentee is interested in a large-scale development of his or her career, and the mentor is frequently a leader in a different division with a lot of experience and a wide variety of contacts.

The goals of a mentorship should be laid out at the beginning of the relationship. While it may seem awkward to start out with this kind of discussion, it will help avoid misunderstandings. It’s vital when you begin a mentor-mentee relationship that the expectations, purpose, and goals of the relationship are clear to both the mentor and the mentee.

Roles and Responsibilities

Having a mentor and a mentee with the right attitudes, skills, and approach is also essential to having a successful relationship. Here are specific roles and responsibilities that each person should have to ensure a successful mentorship.

The mentor should have:

  • Passion. A good mentor will not be someone who is burned out, cynical, or ready to get out of their profession. Instead, a great mentor will have a tremendous passion for the industry, company, and career.
  • Experience. A mentor should be someone who is advanced in their career and is a senior leader in the organization.
  • Patience. Knowing how to develop others, and having the patience to do so, it vital in a mentor. Not everyone who is successful can be a great mentor; it requires persistence and patience.
  • Desire to Help. A mentor should be someone who is interested in helping another person advance in his or her career. Someone who is jealous or petty is not someone who would make a good mentor.

The mentee should have:

  • Eagerness to Learn. A mentee should come into the relationship knowing they have a lot to learn. Someone who feels they already know everything they need to know is not someone who makes a good mentee.
  • Positive Attitude. Along with being teachable, a mentee should have a positive attitude about both the mentorship and their career. Someone who has a positive attitude will learn and benefit from a mentorship in a way that a negative person or excuse-maker will not.
  • Patient. Just like the mentor, the mentee should be patient. Even a higher-level executive isn’t a perfect person. There may be delays or rescheduled meetings due to last-minute responsibilities. A mentee must remember there are a lot of priorities involved and be patient.

Trust and Collaboration

The foundation of any relationship is trust. Trust isn’t something that can be assumed, and often it takes time to grow. A new mentor-mentee relationship will have a certain level of trust involved, but over time a great deal more trust can be developed. As with any relationship, poor choices by either the mentor or mentee can erode or even destroy the developed trust. It’s essential to make sure that both parties respect the trust within the mentorship.

Finally, collaboration will help the mentorship be successful. When both the mentor and the mentee work together on common goals for the organization can help further both careers. Not only does the mentee get the prestige of working on impactful projects, but the mentor also gets the positive press of coming up with creative ideas while helping someone else develop. Collaboration is a win-win in a mentorship!

Mentoring has an amazing, positive impact on the mentee and vice versa. If you believe you could be a mentor to someone, give it a go. It could change their life, and don’t forget it can change yours too.

I have spent over 30 years building a successful business and mentoring men and women along the way. I can help you identify what’s holding you back and accelerate achievements towards your goals. If you’re ready to go beyond the status quo, contact me today!