6 Key Suggestions to Build a Successful Mentor Relationship

Career DevelopmentCareer Resources

If you’ve ever had a mentor in the workplace, you know that they can be an invaluable resource throughout your career. They can help you with a variety of situations like making difficult decisions in the workplace and providing long-term career advice. They are there to teach and guide you through your professional life. Anyone can benefit from having a mentor at any stage in their career. 

What’s key to understand, though, is that maintaining a successful mentor relationship requires time, focus, and effort. Here are six helpful tips for mentees to help them build a mentor relationship that will flourish and bring them success.

1. Define Your Goals

As you look for a mentor, you may be surprised by how willing people are to be that person for you. However, you shouldn’t allow just anyone to be your mentor. You want to find someone who can help you achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself. Your mentor is only there to give you support and guide you toward your goals, so you need to know what your goals are before taking on a mentor. The right mentor for you should also have a compatible personality and similar style of communication, so don’t rush through finding a mentor. Take your time to find the right fit. 

2. Understand Your Mentor

Once you have chosen your mentor, take the time to get to know them as a person and a professional. The more you know and understand your mentor, the more you can figure out how they can help you. As you discover more about their professional background and the career paths they’ve taken, you’ll be able to ask them for more specific guidance on navigating certain career obstacles.

3. Stay in Touch Regularly

An effective mentorship will only grow through regular contact and effort on both your parts. Try to be consistent with your communications and follow through and schedule some regular meetings and check-ins (by phone and in person). A little message here and there can go a long way in terms of cementing a solid relationship.

4. Prepare for Meetings

People want to be mentors for people that are proactive, go-getters, and ambitious. It gives them an opportunity to add value and make a mark. Therefore, you should be prepared for every meeting and phone call. Before your meetings, give an outline of the topics you want to cover and be clear, so that you both know what to bring into the meeting to meet your targets. Show your eagerness to learn from them.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Change 

Careers and objectives change over time, so one mentor relationship doesn’t have to follow you throughout your entire career, so there will become a time when it may be wise to change mentors. Express your gratefulness to your mentor for all they’ve contributed to your growth and leave in a way that leaves the door open for future contact. You never know how they might be able to help you in the future. 

6. Thank Them

A thank you means a lot for a mentor. Always be clear that you’re very appreciative of their time, advice, and support. Be clear and humble in expressing your gratitude. Take the extra time to write a handwritten note, which means a lot more to people than a quick email, and your mentor will really appreciate it. At the end of the day, they’re giving their time to your emails, calls, and meetings, and they don’t need to, so be sure to recognize that and share your appreciation.