In my last post, I shared three questionssomeone should ask before seeking out a mentor. Today, I’m flipping the question and sharing what mentors should ask before agreeing to a mentor/mentee relationship.
If you’re being asked to mentor, it’s clear that you have skill, experience, and leadership. There may be many people who can benefit from your expertise. But before you say “yes,” ask these questions of yourself and your mentees.
- Can I make time for this? One of the most important leadership qualities is learning when to say no. If you don’t have or don’t want to make time to commit to a mentorship, the experience could ultimately lead to frustration for you and your mentee.
- Why do you want me to mentor you? Time is valuable, and yours is too valuable to be wasted. Before engaging in a mentorship, ask the individual why he or she chose you. Make sure you’re a good fit and that the mentee is choosing you for the right reasons.
- What is the end goal and how will we determine success? Your job is to be a guide, which means your mentee should have clear goals in mind before you begin. Set a time frame, benchmarks, and end goals before beginning to ensure accurate measurement of success.
- What are our expectations for this experience? Define your expectations for BOTH parties going into a mentorship. Have an open, sincere, and honest conversation about it. This will help you avoid frustration and failure down the road.
It’s a good idea to do a 90-day trial to see if a mentorship is a good fit. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. There should be hard feelings if it doesn’t. Chemistry is important and if it’s not there you need to find someone you click with.
Most importantly – you need to have fun! There is enough drill-down work in our everyday routines and workdays. Mentorship is deep work but it also needs to be fun and rewarding for both parties. You should have a sense of fulfillment from the process.
Mentorships are valuable relationships for both parties. By setting clear expectations, committing to make time for the relationship, and making the work fun, you’ll develop a rewarding experience that will help you both grow professionally and personally.