Career Development - Mentee Guide
Keys to a Successful Mentor/Mentee Relationship
A partnership is a relationship, frequently between two people, in
which each has equal status and a certain independence, but also implicit
or formal obligations to the other.
Mentoring is often thought of as a partnership largely because there
are obligations, implicit or otherwise, that each party takes on. One
key to a successful mentee/mentor relationship is to be aware of your
obligations and take them seriously.
What obligations might you take on as a mentee? What challenges might
arise for you in relation to these obligations? How can you partner
with your mentor to meet your obligations to him or her?
Inviting a Mentor's Assistance
Because mentoring is most often a voluntary activity on the part of
the mentor, it is important that you think carefully and intentionally
about what you want from a mentor's assistance.
What most mentors are looking for from a mentoring relationship is:
- A sense that they are helping someone achieve their goals and that
they are making a difference in another person's life.
- An occasional "thank you" or acknowledgement of the
assistance they are providing.
- An enjoyable relationship.
There are a number of things you can do to invite initial
and ongoing interest from someone to serve as your mentor.
- Know what you need and want from the relationship.
- Have clearly-defined objectives.
- Identify problems you believe might be obstacles to you in reaching
- Give thought to and be able to articulate how you think a mentor
could assist you.
- Think about how you might reach your objectives with or without
- Be purposeful and pleasant, and have challenging goals.
- Treat your mentor relationship with care; don't abuse it by asking
for inappropriate favors or information, and don't take your mentor
Determining Your Needs
There are a number of ways to determine your needs.
- Review your last performance evaluation; were there areas in which
your supervisor felt you needed more development and expertise?
- Read job descriptions or want-ads for positions you aspire to hold
in the next three to five years. What skills do you have already?
What skills/experiences do you need to develop to be qualified for
- List three basic needs that you have in your current position (e.g.,
less stress, more responsibility, more challenge, more respect).
- Think about what you currently enjoy in your current situation
(job or otherwise)? What's missing?
Any one of these questions can help you define down your needs, which
in turn can help you identify an appropriate mentor and help your selected
mentor identify ways he or she can assist you.
Next Section of the Mentee Guide
for Successful Mentees