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What it takes to be a good mentee

By Sarah Curnow Sarah Curnow

The benefits of mentoring relationships have been publicized for many years, with career progression being the most significant. Get ahead with these tips on what it takes to be a good Mentee.

1. Keep an open mind.

Every mentor will have experiences and skills to share with you. You may find you have a lot or little in common. Regardless throughout your career, you will be required to work with all different types of people. Listen to your mentor with an open mind and you will learn and become a better professional.

2. Prepare.

Think about topics you believe would be valuable to discuss with your mentor. Write them down or even email them in advance of your meeting, so they too can prepare. The more effort you put in, the greater the return.

3. Meet on your mentor’s terms.

Be flexible and work with their schedule. These days everyone is time poor so respect that they’re investing their time in you. If you’re accommodating, they might be able to meet more frequently, and this could help speed up your personal growth.

4. Adopt their advice.

If your mentor suggests you try something different, test their theory and share the outcome with them. This tells them you’re listening to their advice and willing to put it into action. It’s a sign of respect, and you will learn new ways to do things, which as a result will help you to broaden your skillset.

5. Talk to the future.

A mentoring relationship should focus on the present and equally on the future. The things you’re doing in your career today should be setting you up for what you want to be doing tomorrow. Work with your mentor to develop a long-term career plan. If you already have one, share it with them for feedback.

6. Don’t put all the pressure on one person.

Think about the current complex career environments millennials face. It’s extremely competitive, and you need to think strategically to move forward. Seeking out multiple mentors’ balances the risk in relying on one, and takes the pressure off. By learning from a range of people who have had different life journeys, you will benefit from a richer mentoring experience.

7. Share your story.

Help your mentor to help you. Talk to them about your background, what you’re passionate about, and your personal and professional goals. These insights will assist you in building strong rapport, which is essential to the mentoring process.

8. Be honest.

Authenticity doesn’t get enough airplay. This trait is critical to shine as a leader. Telling your mentor what you think sounds good or what you think they want to hear is a waste of everybody’s time. Tell the truth.

9. Embrace feedback.

Sometimes your mentor, boss or client will give you feedback that might be hard to hear. Embrace your reality for growth. Welcome the news, strengthen the weakness and propel yourself to the next stage in your career.


Sarah Curnow

Sarah Curnow

Sarah Curnow, 34 is the Founder of Young Einsteins and an experienced banking executive. Some of her career achievements include becoming a Bank Manager at 21, leading a small sales team on the trading floor of Australia’s largest Bank at 28 to most recently running a $200m business with balance sheet assets of more than $12bn. With years of practice in managing millennials, she specializes in mentoring those interested in developing their leadership and sales abilities.

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