You have an amazing mentor who is willing to invest their valuable time in you. They want you to be successful, so they are carving out time from their busy schedule to coach you and give you advice. Your mentor is one of the most important people in your life, and probably the most important person in your career. How can you add value to the relationship and make them want to invest more into you?
Recognize that their time is valuable.
Nothing is more frustrating to a busy person than someone wasting their time. Make your meetings productive. Show up on time. If your mentor carves out a half an hour of their day to work with you, you should prepare for the meeting and know what you would like to cover with them. Your mentor should not have to spoon feed you every time you are together. The least you can do is create a list of questions for them. Do your research ahead of time and learn as much as you can so they can teach you advanced ideas instead of covering the basics that you could have learned online. Take notes so you don’t repeat topics down the road. Also, end your meetings on time. If they say that they have 10 minutes, be respectful and end the meeting after 10 minutes. If your meetings start to go long and interfere with your mentor’s schedule, they will be less likely to schedule regular meeting with you.
Understand what you are trying to accomplish.
Know what your goals are and share those with your mentor. I encourage people to bring goals for the upcoming year and the next five years to their first meeting with their mentor. You should be able to explain who you are and where you would like to go in your career. Your mentor can help you tweak your five year plan and create a path that will help you succeed. They can also connect you to the right people to help you achieve your goals.
Throw your ego away and take their advice.
When you get advice from your mentor, make sure that you apply it. That is what this whole relationship is about. Your mentor is not there to make you feel good about yourself- they are trying to help you expand your horizons and grow as an individual. Do not be afraid of trying their advice and failing. They will be able to help you figure out why it failed. If you are dealing with a difficult client, talk to your mentor and ask what they would do in the situation. Apply their advice and tell them how it went. If the client does not respond well, your mentor is much more likely to support how you handled the situation since they were the one to instruct you.
Ask them how you can help them meet their goals.
This is a great way to branch out into new assignments and show initiative. This also demonstrates your willingness to invest into the relationship. It shows that there is a mutual respect and appreciation. You might also be surprised at the potential they see in you as they assign you to high profile projects. As you work on something that will help them achieve their own goals, they will be able to invest more time and pointed advice into you.
Don’t forget to say thank you.
Your mentor is graciously investing in you. Take their advice and report back to them on how things went. Your mentor will love seeing the positive impact they are having in your professional growth. Make sure that they understand how much you appreciate them by thanking them for their time every time you meet. Make an effort to write a thank you email every now and then. Send them a thank you card when you reach a milestone. Give them credit when credit is due to create goodwill and let them know that they are making a positive impact.
A mentor will point you to the path of success. Bring them value so they take you down the path. Click To Tweet