Through Steps 1 and 2, we hope that you have secured the support of a mentor, set some goals, and laid down some ground rules during your first meeting. This month, we will discuss the elements that comprise a successful mentoring relationship. As this is a termed relationship, both the mentee and mentor must commit fully to the relationship and keep the agenda of each meeting focused in order to achieve their goals in such short a period of time. Otherwise, a year’s worth of meetings can fly by in the blink of an eye!
In addition to being prepared and committed, the mentor-mentee relationship must be built upon certain factors including:
- Trust and respect
- Open and honest communication
- Flexibility and understanding of other perspectives
- Perseverance, especially to overcome obstacles
As discussed in Step 2, a mentoring relationship goes beyond receiving career advice from a friend. It is a structured relationship through which the mentee benefits by receiving advice and instruction from a seasoned professional. As with any other relationship, you may run into obstacles or differing opinions. You and your mentor need to be willing to work through these obstacles to achieve your goals. Open and honest communication from both parties, together with a foundation of trust and respect, will set up the beginnings of a great mentoring relationship. By keeping all these above factors in mind, you will establish a mutually respectful relationship with your mentor that will be fruitful for both you and your mentor.
While our focus is a mentee-driven mentoring relationship, as recipients of a mentor’s guidance and instruction, mentees should also bear in mind that the relationship should be rewarding for your mentor as well. Mentors are volunteering their time and experience, and have a vested interest in their mentee’s success. Therefore, mentees should remember to articulate their appreciation and let their mentor know when they are doing a good job. Remember: “Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” ~John C. Crosby