Get the most out of your Mentor

Listening to Mentor

I’m involved in a variety of mentoring programs at the moment – career planning, entrepreneurial mentoring and programs to help leaders focus on the important stuff.  These mentoring relationships involve students, business owners and leaders within organisations.  Interestingly I’ve noticed a couple of trends across the board.  I thought I’d share these insights and some tips to help anyone overcome them…

First, it seems like every mentee I meet finds they don’t get as much done as they want to!  It’s the classic issue of being anxious about ‘what’s not getting done’!  Your mentor is the perfect person to help you – ask them to help you identify 3 things you should focus on that will make the biggest impact to your work/business life and set a plan in motion.  This way you focus on action rather than consequences of inaction!

Second – I’m finding that people are more drained and tired.  We live in a country with abundant resources and a great standard of living.  So why do we feel this way? There is usually a variety of reasons, but one that also pops up is the fact that we don’t recognise our achievements and good work.  Essentially we don’t give ourselves a pat on the back.  There are many studies that prove that positive reflection on our successes makes us feel positive about ourselves, which in turn motivates us.  Meeting with your mentor is a great time to reflect – start by asking him/her what he is proud of at the moment and then ask them to probe your thoughts and feelings on the matter.

Finally, I’ve noticed that people are not great listeners!  They ask me a question, for example, what advice would I give about connecting with new people within a certain industry. They hear my answer and then move onto a totally different topic/question almost immediately.  Instead, try and really listen to your mentor’s answer.  Did they give share something you’d never heard before? If so, keep probing on the topic until you truly understand.  Did they offer to introduce you to someone? Make sure you ask them who and setup a time.  Try and summarise what people say to ensure you have understood what they have shared with you.  When you do this it this gives them the opportunity to elaborate further.

Hope this helps you get the most out of your mentoring session…

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