A mentor/mentee relationship is a special one. Mentees look up to their mentors for advice, knowledge, and skills in the business world. This puts a large responsibility on the business mentor to provide expertise in their field and work to build a productive relationship with their mentee. If you are currently a mentor or you are looking to become one, there are a few things you can do to create a strong foundation with your mentee.
Remember That Everyone Learns Differently
When you begin your relationship with a new mentee, it is critical to remember that that person is an individual with a preferred management style, specific goals, and unique expectations of a mentorship. Before you begin meeting regularly and working together, you should have a formal introduction meeting where you can both take the time to ask each other questions and find out what works best for each of you.
Some examples of great questions to ask your mentee include:
- What type of management style works best for you?
- What are your expectations for our one-on-one time?
- What are your goals and how can I help you to achieve them?
- How much time and energy are you expecting both of us to put into this relationship?
Make sure that you reflect on these questions for yourself as well. If you find that your expectations do not match up with those of your mentee, it may be better to pass on the mentorship and recommend someone in your circle who can serve that individual better.
Take an Interest in All Facets of Your Mentee’s Life
A mentor/mentee relationship may be based on business, but a great business mentor is someone who can also take an interest in the person’s day-to-day life. Getting to know what motivates a person and how they enjoy their free time can be an invaluable tool in offering them personalized advice.
Ask questions when they mention something that made them happy recently or that they did with their day off. Listen actively to what your mentee is saying instead of just formulating a piece of advice or thinking about what you should say next. More than anything, what your mentee needs is someone who can understand how to help them – getting to know them is a crucial step in building that relationship.
Be Open and Honest with Your Mentee
We all make mistakes in business and in life. Being open to sharing your mistakes and how you were able to overcome them is more valuable to your mentee than talking about how you achieved your successes. Do not be afraid to discuss the times that you have fallen on your face and what you did to get back up. Your mentee will appreciate your transparency and be better for it.
Similarly, do not sugarcoat when your mentee comes to you for advice and you think that they are making a poor decision. Ultimately, the choice is up to them, but you want to give them as much honest feedback as you can to help them on their journey.
Along with the above tips, the best thing you can do to be a great business mentor is to invest as much time and energy as you are able to into the relationship. Mentoring can be incredibly rewarding for both parties and the more you can give, the more personal growth you will see from both yourself and your mentee.
At Applied Development, offering mentorships to our employees and other woman-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned businesses is a cornerstone of our company values. If you would like to discuss a mentorship or learn more about Applied Development, give us a call today at 410.571.4016 or contact us on the website.