Mentorship is about relationship, meaning it’s a two-way street. Whether you’re an HRPA mentee or a mentor (or interested in becoming one), here’s how you can make the most out of your time:
1. For Mentees: Be Prepared
Often in a mentoring relationship, it’s believed that the onus is on the mentor to prepare and set the agenda for the meeting. This is not true. Mentors are offering their time. So, as a mentee, you must ensure that you’re making the most out of this time by getting clear on what you need and understanding what your mentor expects during these meetings.
2. For Mentors: Agree on Expectations
It’s important for both mentors and mentees to discuss expectations so that a consensus can be reached for how the scheduled meetings will be run. However, be sure not bring a personal agenda to these meetings that simply advances your own goals rather than what’s in the best interest for your mentee.
3. For Mentees: Be Receptive
Enter your mentorship relationship open to learning about your strengths and weaknesses. Remember, constructive criticism that your mentor may offer is a good thing. It can help you make the changes you need to move farther along in your HR career, so take the time to study their suggestions and apply what you learn.
4. For Mentors: Trust Your Mentee
As a mentor, it’s important not to force what you think is right on your mentee. Not trusting your mentee only sets them up to not trust themselves in the long run. Give your advice but also listen and ask your mentee what they should do to enable them to learn and grow on their own.
5. For Mentees: Nurture the Relationship
It’s not just the mentor’s responsibility to keep the relationship going. As a mentee, you can deepen the relationship, whether that’s with a quick check-in with your mentor between meetings or with a “thank you” note.
6. For Mentors: Practice Positive Coaching
Because mentors are the “dominant” one in the relationship, it can be easy to use your power inappropriately. Instead, be someone who displays integrity and empathy, and who truly wants to see their mentee succeed.
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