What are two powerful ways to lead a team? Coaching and mentoring. In both, we want to help our employees grow and develop. Some organizations decide to coach or mentor, seeing it as an either/or decision. The difference between the two comes down to this — coaches are the guide in a relationship, whereas, in mentoring, the mentee guides the relationship. A mentee is a person who receives advice and motivation from a mentor who has knowledge and expertise in their field. According to Together, ingraining coaching and mentoring in your workspace is a key to business growth.
Think for a moment like an employee starting a new job. The last thing you want to do is feel out of place or like an outsider. You look forward to being welcomed into your new organization and team and given the support to succeed at work. Mentoring is a great way for an organization to support new hires during onboarding and help them learn more about their career path, and the role, their team, and the company in general.
Mentored employees often feel a greater understanding of what is required of them because they get one-on-one training, support, and the advice of an experienced employee. When employees receive this personalized training, they may feel empowered to perform job duties fully. A mentor's guidance, encouragement, and support can provide a mentee with a wide range of personal and professional benefits — ultimately leading to improved workplace performance.
Benefits of mentoring may include:
According to UCDavis, mentees who are committed to personal and professional growth are self-motivated individuals. Being a mentee involves more than just attending meetings with your mentor. Mentoring relationships require a bit of work and significant input from the mentee. Mentorship will become valuable when the mentor and mentee are a good match and understand their roles.
Interest — and an eagerness to learn, improve, and grow — will serve you well as a mentee. In a way, this relationship is entirely focused on you, so take advantage of that! Your mentor cannot do everything for you. They can only give you guidance and tools. You must be willing to take control of your learning by actively participating in the discussions and asking questions.
Let’s look at some dos and don’ts of a mentee.
As a mentee, bring a fun, energetic approach to the relationship. Come to work excited and eager to move your projects forward. Mentors are more likely to react positively when you present the upside to your efforts and not the downside. If problems arise — and they usually do — it is best to frame your situation as a growth opportunity. Offer several solutions and see if your mentor advises one action over the others.
Like any other relationship, your mentorship must fit your needs. But your mentor will also be unable to read your mind, so sharing what you need from them will allow you to succeed as a good mentee. Be honest if you need something to change and let them know if you don’t understand something. Tell them when they’re doing a great job and show gratitude. They are there to help you, so they’ll be excited to know that it’s working.
There’s no such thing as the perfect mentee, but there are ways to strive to become your best mentee. You get what you put out in the world. If you want to achieve your career goals and become the best version of yourself, start developing a mentorship relationship that will surpass your goals.
Want to learn more about mentorship programs in your organization? Talk to an Ardent expert today.