Originally posted on David by Design
For the past five years or so, I have been informally mentoring people. I’m happy to report that some of the earliest are ridiculously successful and I still keep in touch. I’m also a mentee to a few people I look up to. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
Understand Your Motivation Before You Become A Mentor or Mentee
You’re entering an informal agreement and you should know what’s motivating you and clearly articulate that to the other person. In my case, I realized I had not been seeking out mentors so becoming one was an intentional act.
Embrace That It’s A Two Way Learning Street
Regardless if you decide to seek or provide mentorship, you are accepting the role of both teacher and student. As a mentee, you will be teaching your mentor on a daily basis. Understand this dynamic works both ways.
Be A Mentor Means Being An Active Listener
If you want to become a valuable mentor, you either are a serious active listener or want to get better at it. Don’t become a mentor if you don’t value listening. It’s the number one requirement.
Being A Mentee Means Being You
If you’re not comfortable being yourself, you may not be ready for mentorship. Being a mentee means bringing your true self to the informal arrangement. There’s no room for anything less.
The Mentor/Mentee Value Exchange Transcends Professional Development
Being professional is a core value of my being. I strive to act ethically. I’m also a follower of radical candor and encourage mentees to explore a degree of personal life as part of professional development.
Trust Is The Literal Foundation Of Mentor/Mentee relationships
In every engagement where I have been both mentee as well as mentor, I seek to build trust. It’s the bedrock of the Mentor/Mentee value exchange. And it also flows both ways.
Don’t Become A Mentor or Mentee If You Can’t Make The Time
Time is our most precious asset and it’s limited. We have demanding projects, family duties, self-care, etc. all competing for time. If you can’t prioritize being either, you aren’t ready for it.
The Mentor/Mentee Value Exchange Is A Human Investment
In the age of crypto and a red hot housing market — becoming a mentee or mentor is an investment in another human being. If you value the ROI that comes with human investment, you’ll benefit from being either.