I have been very fortunate to find mentors whose guidance helped in bringing out the best in me! Great mentors who are willing to spare time to guide mentees are hard to find. In today’s rapidly changing world, problems we solve are becoming complex. A mentor can provide guidance on areas mentees is unfamiliar with such as creating a business plan for a new startup. A mentor preferably should be an independent person outside direct work activities. A mentee should feel comfortable in bouncing off ideas without the fear of getting judged. However, most of the mentees believe after they find the mentor, the onus is on the mentor to help them.
Smart mentees however know how to build long lasting mutually beneficial relationship with their mentors. They do their home work before approaching their mentor and drive the agenda of every meeting with the mentor. They also know how to stay in touch.
The foundation of the mentor-mentee relationship is set during the very crucial first meeting with the mentor. Smart mentees know that the first meeting is an opportunity to know their mentor better. If you are about to meet your mentor for the first time and are wondering what to ask him then following questions can help:
Q1) I am keen to know you as a person – your family, passions & motivations and how you spend most of your time?
- Where are you from?
- Do you have children? What does your wife do?
- Are you involved with a charity?
- Do you have any books that you would suggest I read?
- What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
- What motivates you?
- Do you have a mentor? How have they influenced you?
Q2) What do you wish you knew at my stage?
Q3) How can I work smarter?
Q4) I would love to hear about your greatest accomplishments. What are you trying to accomplish this year?
Q5) Who else would you recommend I connect with in this specific area?
Q6) What is the best way to reach you if I have specific questions in future?
Remember to take notes during the meeting and after you have found out interests of your mentor, stay in touch by sending relevant information about his favorite topics – articles, books, tickets etc.! Also, keep the mentor posted with your progress!