When preparing for the mentoring meeting, you need to think in an organised way, by:
- listing the topics you want to explore
- thinking through examples you can share, to provide context
- listing a question or two you would like to ask.
The mentoring relationship should be based on developing the professional skills of the mentee. To make the most out of yoru mentor, and his/her experience, you should prepare some questions, and ways to get the conversation going. Here are some examples of how you can stimulate your discussion with your mentor:
- Topic: I want to develop a career plan and need advice on how to advance to the next level.
Context: Share your career progression so far, make sure you're clear about where you're headed and the options you're considering.
Question: 'In your experience, what qualifications do I need for this role?'
- Topic: I would like to explore how best to manage support staff.
Context: Provide an example or two of when you've struggled to get the most out of your staff.
Question: 'How have you managed staff who are much older than you?'
- Topic: I need to improve my report writing and am at a loss on how to do so.
Context: Provide a recent report you've prepared.
Question: 'How important is an executive summary, and what needs to go into it?'
- Topic: I want to strengthen my ability to interpret 'hidden agendas' at meetings.
Context: Share your experience of a recent meeting and describe how you felt lost.
Question: 'Who should I talk to before the meeting to find out what the CEO really thinks?'
The more specific you are with your mentor, the more value your mentor can provide and the more efficient and productive your mentoring relationship will be.