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How to Get the Most Out of Business Mentoring

You may think that being a mentee makes you a passive recipient, but nothing could be further from the truth. Being an active part of a mentorship is a skill that can be difficult to master but is necessary to get the most out of the relationship. Whether you’re a professional looking to hone your skills, or you want long-term career guidance, here are a few ways to get the most out of your business mentoring partnership.

Allow yourself to be taught

One of the easiest but most effective ways to get the most from mentoring is to put your ego aside and allow yourself to be taught by an expert in the field. As someone who is proactive enough to seek out a mentor, there’s no doubt that you’re already a motivated individual and keen to develop your skills further.

But in a mentoring environment, you need to remember that you’re the one being taught so respect your mentor’s opinion and views and consider what they have to say carefully. Learning how to be a good listener is key here – many people don’t know how to take constructive criticism, meaning that they won’t be able to take on board the advice being given to them.

Articulate what you want from business mentoring

A mentor can only help you meet your goals if they know what it is you’re working towards, so spend a decent amount of time establishing your immediate and long-term business goals and what it is you want to aim for. As time goes on, having these goals in place will ensure you stay on track and can see clearly how you’re progressing. Establishing a bigger picture will help you work together and ensures you’re both on the same page – without it, it can feel like you’re not getting much out of your mentorship.

Be honest and open to feedback

The purpose of a mentor is to help you and they have your interests at heart. So, as a mentee, you need to be completely honest and entirely open to their feedback. The partnership needs to be built on trust and honesty – there should be no inhibitions or reasons why you feel uncomfortable opening up.

It’s important to remember that your mentor isn’t there to judge you, so if you’re holding back when talking to them or keeping information back, you’re only hindering yourself and your progress. Be honest about what you want or need from the mentorship so that they can help you meet those challenges or ambitions.

Focus on the long-term goals of your business mentoring

Mentoring is a process that often takes time, so create a series of goals and check in with your mentor periodically to see how things are progressing. This will help you stay accountable and enables you to focus on the advice your mentor has given you. By committing to the process, you’re exercising discipline and focus, and also demonstrating to your mentor that the time they’ve invested has been worthwhile.

Prepare for meetings

Don’t expect your mentor to do the work for you. It’s essential that you take an active role in the process, so come to meetings prepared and with a clear plan of what you want to cover. It can help to review your notes from previous meetings, along with any action items that were outlined, so that you can take the necessary action and discuss any points that have been raised as a result.

Be patient

Throughout the mentorship process, you’ll set goals for what you want to achieve, and it can be tempting to expect to tick off milestones within the first month of doing the work. But the reality is that mentorship is a far more gradual process that takes time and commitment. Part of being a good mentee is a willingness to put in the time and patience and appreciating that while there are sure to be some benefits straight away, the likelihood is that the truly valuable achievements will come later on.

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