Here at Mentor SMart Club we aim to help you prepare so that you can get the most out of your mentoring experience.
Here are a few things to think about if the idea of being SMart Mentored excites you, as we hope it will.
If you decide to proceed, we will provide you with advice, guidance and all necessary learning resources and materials on our protected
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This is a mentee driven and mentor guided relationship: a supportive, professional relationship that is focused on guiding less experienced colleagues by sharing experiences and knowledge. This means you, the mentee, will decide and share what aspects you want to develop, set all appointments, track your goals and record relevant notes after each meeting.
You need a have an achievement goal in mind - Before you search for a mentor, consider your career goals and how a mentor could support you achieving this. It’s not up to the mentor to decide your career goal for you. Remember, these conversations are mentee driven. Find a mentor that can actually help you – the Mentor SMart matching process will help connect you with someone who has the understanding, knowledge and experience to help you achieve that goal.
Your first mentoring meeting – The first meeting will be about learning about each other, discussing what you want to achieve and clarifying any ground rules. Ground rules include how often you should meet, confidentiality parameters and what is the process if one party can’t attend the next meeting.
Be open to challenge - Not all professional conversations are comfortable, but a skilled mentor can help guide you through your thinking and help you grow and develop in a supportive and safe environment. Your mentor will use a range of coaching techniques as part of their approach.
Your mentoring agreement – During the first meeting, SMART targets and ground rules will be agreed and noted down. We recommend a mentoring agreement, but it can be as informal as an email that recaps the understanding of both parties and frames conversations going forward. (This documentation can then be used if there are any issues.)
Relationship not working? Be open, be professional, have a discussion, get both perspectives and review the mentoring agreement. Normally issues can be resolved this way. However, if you can't reach agreement, contact us for further guidance about next steps.
Skills and tips
When dealing with a mentorship, there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration. A good mentor is constantly aware of and improving their skills, so you must learn to continuously progress as a mentee. If you and your mentor fit together symbiotically, the mentorship will blossom into a valuable relationship.
With this in mind, there are a few things you should understand before and during their relationship. Preparing yourself for you time with your mentor can help ensure that you have a happy and helpful mentorship together.
Here are 10 top tips for being a SMart Mentee.
1. Your SMart Mentor is Focused on Helping You Develop
First off, it’s important to remember your mentor is there to support your professional development and success. They will have more experience in the field, and they recognise that sharing that experience and their expertise can help you develop and grow.
You will want to minimise any time wasted in your sessions so come prepared. Think though what it is you want to focus on in advance and share overarching objectives with your mentor at the start of the process so that you can both prepare appropriately to make the most of your discussions.
2. Take Responsibility for Your Own Learning
Your mentor can only give you tools and guidance. You must be willing to take charge of your learning by asking questions and actively participating in the conversations to get the most from the experience. In preparation, consider how good your listening skills are and consider how you will keep a note of what is discussed.
3. Develop Trust
Establishing trust at the begging of the process is key. Your mentorship does not automatically establish trust between you and your mentor so trust will be developed and nurtured over time. Open, honest and professional dialogue underpins this.
4. Be Respectful of Your Mentor’s Time
We know both mentors and mentees lead busy lives so unfortunately arrangements occasionally need to change. Make sure you give plenty of notice if you need to cancel or reschedule a session and try to rearrange for as soon as possible. .
5. Set Realistic Expectations with Your Mentor
Your mentor will help you to specify goals, set SMART targets and clarify expectations at the beginning of the mentoring process to create a solid foundation.
6. Come to Each Meeting with a Prepared Agenda
If you have an agenda for each meeting, you are much more likely to stay on task and optimise the time you have together. You will want to agree this with your mentor in advance of your meeting.
7. Be Open About Your Needs and Provide Feedback to Your Mentor
Be open and honest about your objectives and, if you need something to change, let your mentor know. This is a learning process for both parties.
When appropriate, provide your mentor with feedback on how it is going, what's working well and what might else might need to happen to improve the learning in the sessions.
8. Recognise Your Mentor’s Limitations
Your mentor will be very experienced and knowledgable but, like everyone, there are limitations. As part of their conversation with you, they will signpost other areas of support if appropriate (documents articles, web links, etc) that you might want to follow up after the sessions.
You may also want to talk to us again, at Mentor SMart, about accessing more support with another mentor if additional areas of need are identified during your conversations.
9. Take Appropriate Risks
SMart Mentoring offers you the opportunity to link with someone else who's committed to your progress. They'll help you remove barriers and take you out of your comfort zone. Leaving that comfort zone is often where the real work happens, so be prepared to try new things, allow yourself to make mistakes and value the learning that comes as a result.
10. Be Flexible, Be Reflective and Be Prepared to Learn
Being mentored is a really productive way to improve yourself. In order to get the best out of the process, diarise some reflection time, review your interactions, consider your own contribution and take time to recognise and value what's been learnt. This will help inform what needs to come next!