Meeting your mentor for the first time can be a nerve-wracking experience. You’re both excited to meet with an expert in your field and nervous that you’ll freeze up and won’t be able to explain your career goals or why you are worthy of their time. Relax. If you’ve taken the time to do some planning for your mentoring session, you’ll do just fine. Have you outlined some questions to ask your mentor? Prepared for possible questions he/she may ask you? Have you jotted down a description of your career goals and what you hope to gain from the mentorship?
Mentoring sessions are generally short in length, especially in the beginning. You want to make sure you are prepared and positioned to make the best use of this golden opportunity. Below are some of the basic ways in which you can prepare yourself and gain the most from your mentoring meetings:
Be on time: This should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many aspiring young professionals get flustered, procrastinate on preparations, and end up showing up late to a mentoring session. Remember, time is precious, and your mentor is willing to spend some of their precious time on you. It is your responsibility to show dedication and respect by being on time for the meeting.
Prepare good questions: Dedicate some time beforehand to sit down and really think about your career goals and what you want to learn from your mentor. Prepare a list of essential questions to ask your mentor, and also be sure to consider answers to questions your mentor may ask you.
Do your homework beforehand: Spend some time getting to know your mentor before you meet them. Familiarize yourself with the current happenings of his/her company: read recent news releases; learn about the company’s history, products, and/or services; know the names of the team of individuals your mentor works alongside. You can also study your mentor’s LinkedIn profile, search his/her name on YouTube, AngelList, or Wikipedia, or read their bio on the company or agency website.
Be yourself: No doubt you want to put your best face forward when you meet with your mentor, but resist pretending to be something or someone you are not. You’ll be spending a good amount of time with your mentor, working together and getting to know each other. Any false pretenses will eventually surface, and they will ultimately harm the relationship. So just be yourself and allow your mentor to get to know who you are and what you want.
Take notes: With all your nerves and excitement, you couldn’t possibly remember everything that is discussed during the session. As long as your mentor has no objections, make sure you jot down any advice and tips you want to remember later.
Say thank you, and schedule a follow-up: At the end of the session, thank your mentor for their time and advice, then spend some time evaluating your experience. What did you learn from the session? Was it worth it? Did it clarify all your doubts? Do you feel better and more fulfilled at the end than you did at the beginning? Be sure to schedule your next session and stick to the date. You and your mentor both will be able to track your progress and the overall success of the mentorship.
Succeed in mentoring with MentorCloud
Whether you are meeting with a mentor for the very first time, or you simply want to improve the value gained from your mentorship meetings, MentorCloud can help you gain the level of preparation you need. MentorCloud allows your organization to share knowledge and wisdom openly while enabling both small and large companies to develop their employees. If this post was valuable to you, please feel free to share it across your social media channels. Also, give us your thoughts on best practices and/or your experiences with mentoring. Thank you for reading, and check back in every Monday and Thursday for original posts on the #powerofmentoring!