5 steps to impress & keep your mentor engaged

So, you now have a mentor. How do you get the most of your relationship? What sort of questions are off limits?


(1) First impressions matter

I personally like it when a mentee is well prepared and Is thoughtful about the use of my time, and sets the tone for our meeting by sending me an email 24 hours in advance on specific topics we’d be covering.

This helps set the stage for the first meeting – and shows me that there is some thought to what the mentee wants to achieve.


(2) Build a framework for the relationship

As in any relationship, setting expectations is key. A few questions to cover before hand: 

  • How often should the mentee and mentor meet, for how long?
  • Arrangement for cancellations
  • Confidentiality
  • If this is through a formal workplace program, what does this mean if she/he could be on the promotion committee for you in the future – will she/he declare conflict of interest? 


(3) Topics to cover with your mentor

As with most things, coming prepared will ensure you get the most out of your experience with your mentor. Your session with your mentor is not a time to be soul-searching, so beforehand, spend some time thinking about:

  • Where do you want to get to, how does this look like and feel like and how do you see this relationship helping you? 
  • What is working and what is not?

TIP! What can you find out about your mentor beforehand that sounds like experiences you want to learn about? How does that resonate?

Sample TOPICS:

  • Issues on specific work challenges: for example stakeholder management and buy in if you’re championing a new initiative, managing a difficult peer who is high potential 
  • People management
  • Scaling your career 
  • Building meaningful networks 


(4) Get Feedback 

At the end, don’t forget to ask for feedback on how you showed up for the session, and how you can do better. Women don’t always get the direct input they need to be their best selves because coworkers may be nervous about eliciting an emotional response. Make sure you don’t fall into this trap with your mentor. Solicit feedback whenever you can by asking specific questions like, “How can I improve?” and “What am I not doing that I should be?” The more you ask for and accept feedback, the faster you’ll learn—and odds are she or he will respect your openness and willingness to grow.


(5) Plan For The Next Meeting

Finally, don’t forget to set up a plan for what’s next – and create a system. Press into the relationship if you believe in it – ask for more without demanding it: show interest. 

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” – James Clear

A good mentoring session:

  • continues to build rapport
  • focused on issues and got under the surface
  • stretched you both
  • builds a clear strategy for next steps