10 Tips to Make the Most of Your Mentorship

As our NextGen Summit continues to grow closer and closer, and its plethora of networking opportunities, we thought it would be best to share our best tips to getting your mentorship started off right! Yesterday afternoon we introduced the new 2018 cohort of our NextGen Leadership Program to two amazing speakers, James Miceli (CFO Strategic Planning for the IRS) and Jovanka Balac (President of Young Government Leaders) that shared with our participants great advice for making the most of their new mentorships. Our virtual kickoff event consisted of 10 government employees who will spend the next 6 months attending online trainings and learning about best practices to advance in their careers.

Heading out into uncharted territory via a mentorship can be intimidating at times, but hopefully, with these helpful tips, you’ll be able to start making progress in no time!

  • Set realistic and honest goals. Before diving in to your new mentorship, make sure to set realistic and achievable goals for yourself. New challenges should act as a motivator for success rather than a deterrent. Be honest about what you need most out of your mentorship and be sure to take advantage of new opportunities.


  • Take ownership of the partnership. Come prepared to meetings with your mentor and be ready to discuss pertinent information in your development and new ideas related to your success. Take initiative in order to reach your goals.


  • Don’t be afraid to get personal. Jovanka Balac agrees that opening up about your weaknesses or background might help you find common ground with your new mentor. Don’t shy away from sharing about your personal life if it could add an additional layer to your relationship.


  • Make that…CHANGE. As James Miceli stated, “Just like Michael Jackson sang, make sure you make that change.” Make steps to follow your mentor’s advice and follow through on your plans. Your goals can only be accomplished by making space for new opportunities in your life.


  • Make time for FaceTime. Seeing your mentor face to face is a valuable aspect of your relationship. James Miceli recommends meeting regularly, whether that be in person or by video call, to solidify your mentorship relationship.


  • Be a great listener. Take notes and ask clarifying questions, your mentors are here to help you learn. Jovanka notes that being an active listener goes a long way.


  • Bring fun to the relationship. Professionalism is an important aspect of every relationship, but don’t forget to have fun! Engaging in fun activities with your mentor might make your mentorship all the more worthwhile.


  • Pay it forward. Mentorship is an important part of an individual’s success, so make sure to give back whenever you can! Jovanka specifies that for every individual that’s mentored you, mentor at least the same number yourself.


  • Don’t forget to say thank you. Make sure to thank your mentor for their time and guidance, fostering a mentorship relationship is by no means easy! Be sure to keep in touch beyond your formal mentoring as well. James attests that it informs your mentor of how much the relationship means to you and it opens up a way to receive additional feedback as your career advances.


  • Seek out new ways you can help your mentor. Jovanka points out that mentorship can be a two-way street. Make sure to provide your mentor with relevant feedback that can help improve your relationship!

Got some mentorship relationship tips we didn’t mention? Throw them in the comments! Additionally, for more information on all things professional development, check out all of the NextGen Leadership program’s blogs here.

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Timothy Goldsby, Jr.

Thanks for the insights! As a budding professional, mentorship has been essential to both my professional and social development. Thank you for laying out a roadmap for all of us who plan to continue to exchange ideas up and down the proverbial networking ladder. With these tips, folks on different rungs will have no problem connecting with one another.