Starting a new mentorship can oftentimes be difficult, especially if you’re not that close to your mentor, to begin with. But it’s worth putting in the effort. Though you might initially be hesitant to set up that first meeting or call, the end result could potentially be the beginning of a lifelong friendship or support! Hopefully, these five steps can help take some of the pressure off of those first few weeks of your new mentorship.
- Ask Questions
Come prepared with topics of conversation. The best way to establish two-way communication between you and your mentor is by asking questions. Some good questions to ask at an initial meeting might be around best time management practices, professional image tips, or technical skill building recommendations. Eventually you’ll be able to have a more natural progression of conversation, but in the beginning, it might be wise to create easy entrance points by asking questions.
- Be Patient
If you and your mentor don’t hit it off after the first meeting, don’t panic! Give yourself time to become familiar with your mentor and vice versa before jumping to any concrete conclusions. Oftentimes your initial meeting might be a bit awkward or formal due to nervousness or unfamiliarity. Ease into your new relationship on your own terms but make sure to set joint goals on what you’d like to achieve. It might also be ideal to set both short-term and long-term goals over the course of your mentorship to better gauge your success.
- Be Curious
If you’re interested in seeking out more knowledge about a particular subject or project, do it! Although you might be working toward set goals with your new mentor, don’t feel pressured to stick to all of them if your interests change. Throughout your mentorship, you might be introduced to new ideas or find that you have a special interest in certain topics, and that’s absolutely okay. One of the main reasons we elect to have a mentor is to give us the push we need in the right direction and to help kickstart our personal growth. As you embark on your journey, remember that growth will also play a major role in your success, and it’s more than okay to change your mind a few times.
- Be Open-Minded
Don’t allow yourself to become sheltered by your expectations. Have an initial plan but be open to change. Your mentor will most likely want to offer you advice during your goal setting – so take it! Odds are, your mentor is pretty skilled in certain areas and you can use this to your advantage. Ask for advice as often and as much as you’d like, your mentor has years of experience and will be able to look at situations from a different angle than yourself.
- Know Yourself
Stay true to your intention but allow room for growth. When sitting down to create your long-term and short-term goals, make sure they’re realistic. The last thing you want to do is set goals that are unattainable and that prevent you from having a true marker of achievement. It’s always great to get an outside perspective on certain projects or issues you’re dealing with, but if the advice you’re receiving doesn’t sit right with you, trust your instincts. Even though others’ intentions might mean well if it ultimately doesn’t help you or your cause than it’s not necessary to take to heart.
Got any steps that you would recommend? Put them in the comment section below!