Mentors and Mentees

It’s lonely at the top. When an entrepreneur’s ideas are set in motion, he or she may encounter situations or choices that need expert help or a different perspective.

A mentor may be an older, wiser friend or an experienced, trusted resource. Once you have decided to become a mentee, the quality of the results will depend on the relationship and your willingness to take on board the advice and act on it.

The long-term impact of mentoring can be life changing. Here is our guide to understanding what is expected of a good mentee.

  1. Your time is worth investing to find a mentor who is right for you. Choose wisely – be clear whether you need short term support or coaching to achieve something specific (e.g. a one-off pitch or an award speech) or longer term mentorship to build a successful business. A mentor’s role is more formal and offers long term advice and guidance throughout several stages of your career. Find someone who you respect and could emulate in the future.
  1. Share your goals and fears openly – be honest, enthusiastic, energetic, organised and focussed. As a mentee, it’s vital that you inspire your mentor to inspire and guide you. Respect your mentor’s time by bringing positivity to meetings and not swamping him or her with emails, phone calls and questions. Honesty is vital in the mentor/mentee relationship. You must share with your mentor if you are struggling with an issue or have failed with anything.
  1. Time management is a key to being successful. Rather than pressure yourself by promising the impossible, try to “under-promise” and be happy to “over-deliver” on the projects you are working on together. Have clear goals for meetings and confirm them with your mentor ahead of time so that you both know what to discuss and what should be achieved.
  1. Never expect a good mentor to solve your short-term problems or do the work for you. A mentor is there to advise and guide you with experience and knowledge, bringing an extra dimension to possible solutions. Listen carefully to your mentor and, quite often, you may hear yourself resolving your own issues as a result of your discussions.
  1. You must be able to accept constructive feedback, even if it’s not what you wanted to hear. In order to benefit most from your mentor, maintain a positive, motivated attitude and try and present solutions and opportunities to succeed, rather than dwelling on problems and set-backs. This includes not complaining about other people or things that are ‘not fair’.

Being a mentee means developing and maintaining a long-term relationship with your mentor, with a focus on supporting your growth and development. The mentor is your ‘outer conscience’ and, when the relationship is well balanced, the benefits are worth the investment on both sides.

Read more about what to expect from a good mentor.