Mentoring Program

Get the Most Out of Your Mentor Relationship

Unlock the full potential of your mentor relationship. Learn valuable insights and tips to maximize growth in this insightful blog.

70% of Fortune 500 companies utilize mentoring programs. There’s a reason. Mentoring is an extremely powerful tool that enhances employees who then are more productive. Mentoring not only benefits the company, but also the employees being mentored receive career guidance and access to knowledge that would otherwise be out of reach.

Why is mentoring important to your career?

You might be wondering why you need a mentor. You’ve gotten this far in your career without one. So what would a mentor offer? It is often assumed the main thing needed in career development is job-related and technical skills. While technical skills are vital, it is usually obvious how to obtain these through further schooling or courses. What isn’t as simple to do is master the soft skills that can make or break a career: sales, communication, networking, managing disgruntled employees, motivating teams, etc.

These are not skills that people are born with. They are taught, practiced and honed over time. That’s where a mentor can help. Mentors can offer a guiding hand, teach lessons in soft skills that are otherwise only learned by making mistakes over and over. A mentor can save you a lot of pain and embarrassment.

Mentors also facilitate professional careers through networking. Imagine how big your network is. Now imagine how big your network of friends and associates will be in ten years time or even twenty. That’s likely how big your mentor's network is. A mentor can jumpstart your network growth by introducing you to the right people at the right times to help develop your career.

Mentorship can also accelerate a promotion. Employees with seasoned mentors often experience promotions within their respective companies much faster than those without mentors. This is due not only to networking, but improved job performance.

Ok I’m convinced. I have a mentor now. How do I get the most out of it?

Having the right mentor is the first step. Now that you’ve got one, you need to leverage the relationship so it benefits both parties while you get the most out of it. This takes balance, care, focus and commitment.

Set goals at the start

When you start out with a mentor, you should bring goals to the table. Be open with your mentor about objectives. Write them down. Make sure you both agree on them. Your mentor might tell you they unrealistic or even add goals you weren’t thinking of. Getting this squared away at the start will make for a productive mentor-mentee relationship as you both know where you are going. It can also be exciting to project out goals into the future.

Have an Agenda

Don’t show up unprepared. It wastes time. Before mentoring sessions, make sure you are familiar with the schedule and what is going to be covered during that time. Mentoring minutes are valuable. Don't let a second get wasted.

I highly recommend using a planner, notebook or digital tool to keep track of appointments and what you need to bring to each session. Coming prepared with questions or information allows you to get started right away and also puts the mentoring sessions under your control so you get exactly what you want out of them. Don’t let sessions meander about aimlessly. Have a definite agenda with points to cover each time. This assures your goals will be met.

Venting is pointless

We all want to vent. We all have complaints in the workplace and troubles with bosses or colleagues or the system. But...if we take a step back and look at the purpose of mentoring venting is unproductive. Don’t use up precious mentoring time venting. The primary purpose should be solution finding. If there are legitimate problems, a mentor can help you resolve them. But using your mentor as a complaint file is simply bad manners.

Come to each mentoring session passionate but not volatile. It can be tempting to unload the weeks frustrations on a senior executive in a private setting, but it's highly unproductive.

Honesty is the best policy

Mentors are there to help you. They aren’t there to be impressed. If you are having difficulty or struggling with something, they can’t help you with it if they don’t know about it. While reputation is important, harboring insecurities is unproductive. It can be empowering to share a weakness with a mentor as now it can be worked on and handled.

Unplug from your phone and work.

The less distractions, the more focused you will be. Treat each mentoring session like it is the only thing in the world happening. Park work aside. Turn your notifications off. Alerts, text messages and emails can be really distracting. It can also disgruntle a mentor. A mentor’s time is extremely valuable and it should be cherished. Don’t take it for granted by handling your phone during mentoring sessions.

Be reliable and don’t miss meetings

It’s good professional practice to be prompt and on time. Showing up on time, every time can often make up for lack of talent in other areas. Being late all the time, even if talented, can end a career. Be flexible and work with your mentor on scheduling, but when agreements are made stick to them and don’t be late.

Give feedback

Make sure to let you mentor know how things are going good or bad. When something isn’t going well speak up. If there are positive takeaways make sure to let your mentor know. A good mentor will take this feedback and use it to make the sessions better and more aligned with your goals.

Mentor Resources can help any company or government agency to leverage technology to create tailored career development programs that are cost-effective. Our mentoring software - Wisdom Share is a cloud-based program that is simple and comes with guided workflows. Included are tools for administrators to attract, enroll, connect, and guide participants. We also provide analytics to ensure you can monitor your employee development program and easily see ROI metrics.

Reach out to us today for a Free Demonstration of our software.

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