“When the student is ready the teacher will appear.” — Buddha
Let’s start with a definition of the word “Mentorship”:
Mentorship is a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. — Wikipedia.org
We all know some benefits of having a mentor, but for me personally, these are the best reasons:
- They accelerate your learning curve;
- They expand your connections;
- They tell you the cold, brutal truth; and
- They motivate you.
Here are some articles on the subject:
- The Value Of Having A Mentor — The StartUp
- Benefits Of Having A Mentor — Monster.co.uk
- 10 Benefits of Having A Mentor — SurfCareers.com
- 6 Key Benefits Of Having A Mentor — Fortune.com
However, the point of this article is more fundamental than that:
Are you even worth a mentor’s time?
Sounds harsh right? I’m saying that on purpose.
To receive the benefits of mentorship, it has to be a mutual relationship. There are some unspoken “principles” that exist to make the relationship work. In this article, I’ll focus on what are some good qualities to be mentor-able:
Listen, Be Open-Minded
A mentor will give you advice on a solution to a problem based on their experience. They take their precious time because they want to help YOU. You owe it to them to listen to what they have to say.
They will often tell you things you don’t yet comprehend. Be open-minded. Don’t correct them. Don’t interrupt them when they speak. Try to grasp their point of view.
Take notes. It shows you value their time. It’s also much easier for you to remember their advice.
Don’t check your cellphone or smart watch. Don’t check the time unless you’ve got something really urgent to do after. And when that’s the case, mention it at the start of the meeting.
There’s no better proof that you listened than when you apply the advice they’ve given you. You may not always agree with their advice, but sometimes they just see further ahead. For better or worse, try it nonetheless. Unless you’re certain it’s destructive to you or your business.
After you’ve applied and let enough time pass to assess the results of the advice, follow up with them. Tell them what worked and what didn’t. A good mentor won’t be mad if you tell them your idea didn’t work. If they think they can improve on the advice, they’ll do their best.
Nonetheless, they’ll be happy you listened to them and did your best. They’ll be more willing to give you their time and give you important connections that can help you in other ways.
I’ve written about gratefulness before. This is very important for a healthy mentorship. Thank them for their valuable advice. We always complain, yet always forget to thank the people who help or inspire us. Do it. But do it for them, not for you. Mentors are people like you and I. Being recognize for your work is always nice.
Now be honest with yourself
With all that said, it’s time for you to think honestly about yourself. About your behaviour:
Do you REALLY listen when someone tells you something?
Do you try to apply what people tell you, even when you don’t necessarily agree?
Do you follow up with people who give you advice?
Do you thank them for their help?
If you can honestly “yes” to those questions, you have some of the most important characteristics of someone who is mentor-able.
If you have mentors already, they probably like you. If not, now’s a good time to find some!
Think about this before seeking your next mentor. Evaluate yourself honestly. Be a better mentoree and reap the benefits of a successful mentorship!
Thanks for reading! :)
First published here: https://medium.com/swlh/are-you-even-mentor-able-dfcb784383c2