How to be a good mentee

A good mentor can change an EA’s career for the better. They’ll share their knowledge and expertise with you, open doors, guide your upskilling, offer career advice and help you get ahead professionally. Their advice is invaluable and is given voluntarily, without expecting anything in return. But despite this, it’s common for people to think that it’s the mentor who shoulders the responsibility of ensuring the relationship works.

In reality, as a mentee you have the more pivotal role to play. Why? Because you must make yourself ‘mentorable’.

To do this, respect your mentor’s time. Your mentor is voluntarily giving up their time to pass on their skills and knowledge, so be flexible and accommodate their schedule when sending each meeting invite. Arrive a few minutes early to each appointment and always be thankful for their time.

Next, be clear about what you want to achieve from a mentorship to avoid wasting each other’s time. Your mentor is not a mind reader, so set and discuss your specific objectives and then arrive at each meeting with questions or an agenda aligned to your overall goal. It may help to make a note of questions that come to mind throughout your working week that you could ask in your next meeting.

Be prepared. Before every meeting with your mentor, prepare or collate relevant examples of your work. For example, if you’re asking your mentor for advice on collating a report for your executive, bring along a draft report you are working on. This allows your mentor to provide relevant and practical advice.

Next, consider that a mentor will provide you with useful knowledge, guidance and advice, which will only be beneficial if you use it. Don’t waste your mentor’s time – and your own – by failing to put into practice the new skills they’ve shared with you.

Finally, provide feedback. Mentors want to know that their time and effort is having a positive impact on you. After all, they’ve invested time in you that they could have spent elsewhere, so always share with your mentor the successes you’ve had following their guidance.

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Alex Jones is Senior Regional Director at Hays Office Support.