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YNPN RVA Recommends: Tips for Mentoring Relationships

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A good mentor-mentee relationship can be a life enhancing experience for both participants.  By definition, a mentor is a person or a friend who guides a less experienced person by building trust and modeling positive behaviors.

A good mentor is someone who challenges you, provides constructive criticism, and helps you to achieve realistic goals.  A close friendship is often formed through a mentorship relationship but not always.  Everyone throughout their lives has people they look up to or call on for advice, but a true mentor/mentee relationship is one not only based on trust and friendship, but on discernable goals, objectives, and skills.

If you’re looking to learn more about the benefits and advice for finding a mentor, register now for YNPN RVA’s Mentoring Matters: Using Mentoring as a Tool for Professional Development on June 24th. You should also check out these tips:

  • Don’t pick someone from your chain of command to be your mentor.  Their advice may not be as objective because of their concerns about your job performance and productivity.
  • Do network a lot and have defined goals and objectives to be accomplished while working with your mentor.  Knowing what skills you want to learn and goals you want to achieve will help you identify people that can provide the skills you’re looking for.
  • Don’t jump too quickly into a mentor-mentee relationship.  A good mentor is someone that you can trust and feel comfortable being completely honest with.  You may not find this at first, so it’s important to meet as many people as possible to find the best fit. Don’t forget to challenge yourself by seeking people who may be out of your “comfort zone” or “circle of colleagues” so you can be properly challenged.
  • Do communicate effectively with your potential mentor by acknowledging what you are looking for and setting a schedule of how often you can comfortably communicate with each other.  You want to make sure you speak regularly and follow up, but you don’t want to be a burden to your mentor.  Discuss how you will communicate (skype, phone, emails, etc.) and approximately how often.
  • Don’t waste your mentor’s time.  Make sure you prepare for each meeting and have clearly defined goals and objectives.  Your goals should  be realistic, such as mastering a new skill or completing a major project, not just earning higher pay.
  • Do plan to grow as an individual in both your personal and career goals.  Make sure that you are actually learning new ways to think about situations and building your skill set and not just deferring to your mentor for answers to every problem that may arise.
  • Don’t rely on only one mentor.  An individual can have many mentors at different stages in their life and for different purposes.  You may have a mentor for your professional life and/or one for your personal life.  The mentor relationship may only be for a short amount of time or until a certain objective is accomplished.  However, you should try to remain in touch over the years so that you have a wide range of “advisors” for unique situations and life experiences as they arise.  It’s also good to create lasting friendships if one is formed during the mentor-mentee relationship.

We hope to see you at YNPN RVA’s Mentoring Matters event to meet with potential Mentors and Mentees and learn the ins and outs of mentorship from people who’ve lived it.  

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