Updated: Aug 2, 2021
Mentor-mentee relationships can be hard to navigate without prior experience. After all, there are so many different factors to consider from both sides of the relationship:
How formally/informally should I act?
What questions are okay for me to ask?
Is my advice sound enough?
With all of this in mind, we would like to provide some best practices and tips from our team to ensure that you can have the best relationships on our platform and elsewhere.
Trust your gut
When in doubt, it’s important to recognise that both mentors and mentees alike are only human. Trust your instincts: in most cases, they’ll be totally correct! For example, it should be clear based on past interactions that a relationship with a mentor who has just retired will be different compared to a relationship with a mentor of the same age and with a similar position.
Additionally, you should not use profane language or slurs when speaking with a professional, let alone any person. Let your past experiences guide you in the right direction.
Simply communicating with your mentor/mentee can also do wonders, ensuring that all parties remain cordial and close.
Recognize that mentor-mentee relationships, just like every relationship, are two way streets
Being considerate of others is important in all relationships, but especially so in mentor-mentee relationships. These relationships are not meant to be one-sided by any means: both parties always have something of value to share and offer to the other regardless of any difference in position or experience. As such, both mentors and mentees should treat each other with respect: being prompt and considerate with time, providing proper insight and guidance, and being mindful of cultural differences.
Nobody is perfect; be kind and respectful to your mentor/mentee, and expect the same kindness back.
Understand what you want from the relationship
Being unsure of what you want from a mentor-mentee relationship is a surefire way to waste time and energy from all parties. In these relationships, you will only get out what you put in.
If you are a mentee, we recommend that you come into the first meeting or interaction with a clear, premeditated goal in mind, such as obtaining insight, learning new skills, or constant guidance to obtain a dream job. This will ensure that you ask the right questions and fully make the most out of your relationship with your mentor, and your goal will guide your future interactions and questions.
If you are a mentor, try to determine how much time and effort you are able to put into the relationship upfront, as well as what you can teach and expect to learn from your mentee.