Getting the mentor relationship right: Part 1

Finding someone to be a mentor can be easy. But how do we really make sure we are not wasting their time, or our own?

Aged care leaders can be difficult to see. They are busy people, running organisations, understanding complex policy changes, and spending time with their families. As emerging young professionals and leaders we are miraculously meant to understand how to entice these amazing people to be our mentors. Crossing paths with them is one thing, but how do we make sure we don't waste their time ...

When looking for mentors we want to make sure we are getting the most out of the relationship. Or why even bother? To grab their attention we need to understand what it is that we need. What advice do we seek? What expert knowledge do they have which can help us excel and grow?

Being a mentee is hard work, so lets get started on what  you can do to best prepare yourself to get the best out of your mentor.

Before we even begin to approach mentors we need to do our homework. We need to start thinking about who we will ask, what skills we need, and why they're best suited to help us get from A to B.

  1. Where do you want to be in 2/5/10 years? What information are you unsure about here? What will help you achieve you career goals? Why are you unsure and can you do any research/reading on this?
  2. What mentor relationships have you had in the past? Did you enjoy them? e.g. teacher, parents, friend, boss ...
  3. Of the mentor relationships you have enjoyed, what was it about them that helped make the relationship so special?
    1. What was their level of experience and industry knowledge that wow'd you?
    2. Were they accessible and helpful, did they go out of their way to get you information?
    3. Did you like their style? Joker, serious, any shared interests?

Which of these are important to you in your mentor-mentee relationship? Are they vital or just nice to haves?

By identifying and voicing what it is you want to learn (and how you want to learn it) you will start to attract people who are interested and invested in your success.

I currently have four+ mentors and I am only just starting to understand why I want their expertise, and how their skills can be help me. It definitely would have been easier to start out with this knowledge before I asked them to be mentors, but doing this exercise has reshaped how I see them, and ensures I'm not wasting their time/effort.

Have you had a great mentor? How have they helped you?