While having a mentor is an extremely valuable opportunity, the relationship doesn’t always flow like you need it to in order for it to be an effective learning experience. Having a chat every once and a while won’t cut it if you’re serious about gaining knowledge and skills from your mentor. If you’re looking to work with a mentor, make sure you have structure to the relationship. Here are some ways you can implement that structure:
- Regular meetings are a must
The first reason for this tip is obvious. EAs are some of the busiest people on earth so it’s important that you schedule and adhere to regular meetings through the mentorship experience. Regular meetings also helps keep your mentor keep you accountable by checking on your goals and the progress you’ve made. It’s a great way to build the foundations and establish a level of expectation from the relationship. But make sure these meetings are planned in advance. Making a solid commitment means you’re less likely to cancel if the job gets busy or stressful.
2. Listen actively
Listening is key for any strong relationship, but particularly with your mentor. Active listening means absorbing the information and using it proactively in your day-to-day routine. Half-listening won’t get you the desired results and will only waste your mentor’s time. Once you commit to a mentor, you have to commit to actively listening to them as well.
3. Find an external mentor
While finding an internal mentor can be beneficial, it’s usually more effective to find a mentor outside your company. This just means the mentor will be able to look at your progress and problems more objectively and offer a different perspective you haven’t considered. This way you can be confident that your mentor’s advice is purely meant to benefit you and your situation, not offered with an ulterior motive on the side.
4. Be vulnerable
You won’t get the most out of a mentorship if you’re not willing to be vulnerable with your mentor. If you’re stressed, rundown, or struggling with the job, be honest about it. A mentor is there to guide you and teach you how to manage not only the job, but your wellbeing as well. They’ve been in your position, and maybe still are, so they know how you’re feeling and won’t judge you for being honest.