7 tips on what Mentor Relationships are and what they aren't

Behind nearly every successful person is a mentor. Someone who has challenged them and supported their growth and development in their career.


1.    Why have a Mentor?

Mentor relationships usually occur between one person who wants expertise in an area and someone who has this expertise. Having a mentor relationship is a rewarding and meaningful experience that helps a mentee get ahead faster and learn more in their chosen field of work.


2.    The Mentee drives the relationship

A mentor relationship is driven from the Mentee, the person who is seeking the experience and expertise of another person and see the value of positive support and nurturing. The relationship is long term, formal and evolves over time.


3.    How to have a rich mentor relationship

There are 4 key steps to a have rich mentor relationship:

·         Motivation: It is important that both the mentor and mentee has and shares a powerful and inspiring “why” for entering into the relationship.

·         Goals: The mentee also needs to write down their top 3 goals to ensure that both the mentor and mentee thinks about key outcomes upfront and throughout their relationship.

·         Progress: On a regular basis the mentee needs to celebrate, take action and reflect on progress in the relationship

·         Feedback: The mentor needs to provide accountability and support through feedback.


4.    What to look for in a Mentor?

A mentee needs to choose a mentor who has the following characteristics:

 ·         Has the expertise you are seeking

·         Has similar values

·         Has a strong motivation for being a mentor

·         Is inspiring, accessible and process driven

·         Is a good listener, communicator and sounding board

·         Gives regular feedback

·         Is able to network and find resources

·         Is willing to devote time to the relationship

·         Follows through on things


5.    What to avoid in a Mentor relationship?

Mentor relationships are not like that of a coach and a player or counsellor/therapist and their client. They do not focus on developing a specific behaviour or on solving a short term problem. In a Mentor relationship, the mentor does not tell their mentee how to do things or provide advice but shares their own experience and acts as a sounding board to help the Mentee come to their own insights.  


6.    How to take up the role of Mentee?

The two of the most important things a mentee should do is to show respect and gratitude to their mentor and maximise the experience to gain the full benefit of being in a mentor relationship. A mentee should also:

 ·         Be open to feedback both good and bad

·         Be a good listener

·         Make and keep appointments with the mentor

·         Participate actively and be an active learner


7.    How to take up the role of Mentor?

A mentor is a person who is willing to share their experience, wisdom and knowledge with a mentee. The role of mentor is to exposes the mentee to many different perspectives and challenges them to think through issues critically and objectively. They offer positive support, encouragement and motivation to the mentee but does not tell them how to tackle a problem or do something. A mentor is an encouraging motivator, an experienced guide and a connected supporter who helps their mentee to develop to their full potential, to successfully achieve goals and to reach their heights of performance.


A mentor relationship can make a very big difference in a mentee's career and can have positive long-lasting effects on his /her life if both know their roles and responsibilities, understand their motivation and are willing to work hard and focus on key outputs.

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