How to be a good mentee

Sarah Moreno, 15.11.2016
Mentees need to be clear about what they want to achieve
In order to have a positive mentoring experience it is crucial to know exactly what you want to achieve so your mentor knows how and in which areas they can assist in. This does not need to be a specific event that you accomplish but could be gaining more knowledge on a specific subject. 

It is also very important to be open to learning beyond these goals. Your chosen mentor may not have expertise to offer guidance that links directly to your aims but may know of alternative methods and approaches.

Apply what you have learned as much as possible and remain grateful to those giving up their time to help you. Remember not to expect everything to run the way you planned or to receive the exact information you were hoping for. Make the most of the experience.

How to find the right mentor

I believe the best way to choose a mentor is to think about your aspirations, where you want to take your career or an area you are very interested in. Then think about who  may have the ability to offer guidance, or better yet choose someone who is already in the field or position you want to learn about. This way their life experiences are more likely to directly link to your aims and they will have more current knowledge to share.

Consider what kind of relationship you will have. There is no point of being mentored by someone who is where you want to be but is hard to work with. A mentor should be patient and approachable. I chose my mine because I know that I need to learn about the financial side of the sector and how to account for expenses. It is important to keep in mind that working in development requires a lot of people skills to create a comfortable and calm atmosphere.

How to use mentoring to achieve goals and objectives

A mentor is able to fill in the gaps and answer questions you may have. When aiming to achieve your goals, sometimes you may reach a point where you aren’t sure which direction to go in next. A good mentor will be able to advise you when you encounter a problem or share how they dealt with a similar situation. Applying the advice given helps you learn different methods of tackling your goals and will be a good starting point for you to continue developing yourself and your skills.

How to prepare for a mentoring session

To get the most out of your mentoring it is important to know what you want to achieve with your mentor. Good planning ensures all of your sessions are as productive as possible, especially if your mentor is really busy and you do not meet often. The best way to prep for a session is to have a list of questions or issues you would like help on so that the meetings have structure and direction.

It is also helpful to agree on an agenda for the following meeting with your mentor so that you can best plan and your mentor can bring information they think would be beneficial to you. During my first meeting I expressed what areas I would like to know more about, which meant that next time my mentor provided some useful handouts.

Sarah Moreno, learning apprentice at the London Transport Museum