Read

3 Ways to Maximize Your Mentor's Expertise

Creator:
Published:
December 19, 2023
August 12, 2021
Get the most out of the relationship between a mentor and mentee with this advice for mentees.|Get the most out of the relationship between a mentor and mentee with this advice for mentees.

I’m fortunate to have been mentored in many settings. I simply wouldn’t be where I am without those experiences. Not every relationship was perfect, but each provided important lessons, some the hard way.

To me, there are three big ideas to keep in mind for anyone setting out to find mentorship. These are approaches that will make sure you are respectfully maximizing what your mentor has to offer.

Be confident

Great mentees are confident in their relationships with their mentor. Having confidence in the mentorship takes several forms. It means being willing to take any issue to their mentor. Good mentorships are built on the belief that no question is a bad one if the mentee is truly trying to learn and grow and the mentor is truly there to help them do so.

Great mentees need the confidence to try things and fail in the process. No growth happens without stretching. Mentees also need the confidence to trust their mentors. Mentees can grow profoundly if they trust that their mentor is faithfully in their corner and a source of good counsel.

Good mentorships also give mentees the confidence to disagree. Great lessons take place when mentor and mentee thoughtfully discuss an issue, the mentor provides guidance, but the mentee goes their own way after deliberation. Most big questions don’t have a single answer, and a great mentorship teaches a mentee to have confidence in their decision-making process, to act based on that process, and to learn from the outcomes.

Be selective

A good mentorship requires a special bond. Not every pairing works. Mentees therefore need to be selective about their mentors. A good mentor may not be the person you are friends with, someone who works in your discipline, and certainly not the individual randomly assigned by your employer or school.

Mentees must own their relationship and search out a mentor whose personality and experiences help them grow. If an assigned mentor doesn’t work, walk away and find a better one. That shows respect for the mentor, too; nobody gets anything from a bad relationship.

Being selective can also mean looking to unexpected sources for mentorship or having multiple mentors for multiple purposes. Although my entire career has involved law and government, some of my best mentors have been in coaching, ministry, and other settings with nothing to do with my day job. What matters is finding someone you connect with who helps you unlock your potential. Look carefully and widely for those people, and then be very selective in taking them into your circle.

Be thankful

Mentees should always be thankful. Nobody is required to be a mentor. Almost by definition, people who become mentors have enough talent and interest that they could do other things with their time. Demonstrating thanks to your mentor by being prompt, respectful, engaged, prepared, curious, and enthusiastic goes a long way. It is a joy to mentor someone who brings these traits to the table. In fact, I have been reinvigorated by mentees, which is more thanks than I can ask.

Mentees can be thankful in two other ways. First, say “thank you” out loud. We can’t say it enough and it is always nice to hear. Second, become mentors to others. There is no better thanks to offer your mentor than to become a mentor yourself.

I treasure all the mentorship experiences I’ve had because those conversations have informed my personal and professional journeys in important ways. The investment you are inviting from a mentor should be handled with care. You are asking them to speak into an important area of your life, so treat this relationship seriously — it has the power to transform you.

Creators:
Neil Fulton
Published:
December 19, 2023
August 12, 2021
On a related note...
Why This Engineer Chose a Year of Service After Graduation

Why This Engineer Chose a Year of Service After Graduation

Grotto

4 Unique Date Ideas for a Romantic Valentine's Day

4 Unique Date Ideas for a Romantic Valentine's Day

Megan Brown Czerwinski

This School Gives Inner-City Students Corporate Training

This School Gives Inner-City Students Corporate Training

Grotto

How I Paid Off Student Loans (And Found Peace During It)

How I Paid Off Student Loans (And Found Peace During It)

Allison Barrick

Marine Restorer Educates and Inspires Children

Marine Restorer Educates and Inspires Children

Grotto

Buying Your First Home? Here's What You Should Know

Buying Your First Home? Here's What You Should Know

Khang Tran

Tips for Getting Out of Your WFH Slump

Tips for Getting Out of Your WFH Slump

Molly Cruitt

5 Signs You May Be Dating ‘Potential’ Instead of a Person

5 Signs You May Be Dating ‘Potential’ Instead of a Person

Lillian Fallon

Say Goodbye to Awkward Dates with These Improv Tips

Say Goodbye to Awkward Dates with These Improv Tips

Anna White

Employing Adults with Autism: The Right Decision

Employing Adults with Autism: The Right Decision

Grotto

The Bergamot Band Goes Back to Where It All Began

The Bergamot Band Goes Back to Where It All Began

Grotto

What the First Year of Marriage is Really Like

What the First Year of Marriage is Really Like

Krista Steele

An Unexpected Calling: Becoming an Adoptive Single Mom

An Unexpected Calling: Becoming an Adoptive Single Mom

Grotto

How to Financially Prepare for the Unexpected

How to Financially Prepare for the Unexpected

Sarah Coffey

Why We Should Lean Into the Mystery of Death

Why We Should Lean Into the Mystery of Death

Claire Collins

Your Ideal Job Might Be Closer than You Think

Your Ideal Job Might Be Closer than You Think

Ben Wilson

Breakups are Another Face of Love

Breakups are Another Face of Love

Aldrin Nacu

Give the Gift of Charity This Christmas

Give the Gift of Charity This Christmas

Jessie McCartney

At-Home Workouts Based on Your Fitness Personality

At-Home Workouts Based on Your Fitness Personality

Marye Colleen Larme

7 Ways to Grow More Confident

7 Ways to Grow More Confident

Sophie Caldecott

newsletter

We’d sure love to be pals.

Like what you see? Make it easy on yourself and we’ll meet you right in your inbox next time.