How to be a Mentee
I am gonna talk to you today about mentorship! There are two sides of mentorship, the mentor and the mentee, and I want to talk to you about being a good mentee, and how you can communicate better with your mentor to get the most out of your relationship.
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I recently had a meeting with my mentor at the Colonial Country Club, and I am telling you, I want to be this guy when I grow up. He’s raised millions in capital for a new television channel, he has started multiple businesses, lobbied and testified before Congress to influence regulation to benefit his company, just an all-around rock star. To top it off, he’s a coach, trainer, and master consultant.
So when I go to meet him, I make sure that I am armed with a few things that I will be outlining here, so you can get the same benefit when you speak with your mentor.
Make sure you have plenty of questions and you're prepared to answer any questions they might have. They are going to want to get a background on you and where you're coming from. When they begin to begin or when your mentor begins to give you some feedback, make sure that you affirm and you say, yes, OK? Absolutely. Let me write that down. Don’t act like a know it all, as that defeats the purpose of the meeting! If you know something already, just affirm the statement, so as to not disrupt the flow of the conversation. Be receptive to what they have to say.
Take notes, whether it's on your cell phone or digitally or on a notepad. Make sure when you pull out your notepad or your phone, you clearly state, “hey, I'm going to pull this out. I'm going to take some notes while you're talking” This is so you're not giving the impression that your texting and not giving them the priority. It’s a matter of respect, as it makes the person feel as if you have other things you would rather be doing. Also, please do not look at your phone over and over again while you're meeting with a mentor as they are giving you their time. Focus on them, and that text message, email, or phone call can wait for an hour.
If possible, buy the meal. This is a gesture of respect, and a thank you for the person giving you their time. If you can’t pay, then make sure the next time you meet, you’re in a position to pay.
Update them on subsequent meetings on your progress. For example, if they give you tips on how to speak a certain way, or gave you strategies that paid off, let them know, so they can not only celebrate your success, but see that you were worthy of the investment of their time. Remember that they are doing this for free, and that they could be making money working with other people, so show them you’re worth the investment.
Always come with good questions For example, you could ask, “So what are you learning right now?”, “What questions am I not asking?”, “ What blind spots do I have?”, “ What would you do if you were in my situation?” You want to ask questions that provoke a good response from your mentor.
When I leave my meeting with my mentor, I feel encouraged and filled with great information, wisdom, insight and encouragement. I feel validated when I go in and tell him all the wonderful things I am doing with his guidance and insight. I felt validated by his confirmation of what I knew to be true. That high-level thinkers are making that investment of their time, energy, and experience in people that will be a return on their investment.
The final question my mentor asked me was, "How can I help you?". While he is a great business man, he isn’t the best with the social media, such as Youtube, which is what I am trying to build. While he has great content through other mediums, online isn’t his strong suit. So I responded with, “let me think about that”, which created an excuse for another meeting. So always be creating opportunities for more meetings, and more ways to show them that you are worth their time and energy. That’s how to be a great mentee.