Ask InstaViser: Expectations for Mentees

Ask InstaViser: I’m about to have my first call with a mentor, what are their expectations for me, as the mentee?

Specific expectations will vary from mentor to mentor but it’s helpful to understand a few of the basic ground rules. Based on feedback from our networks of mentors, we have three hacks for mentees looking to make the most of their mentoring opportunity:

Do your homework.

You wouldn’t go in to take a test without studying and a session with your mentor is no different. To save time for both you and your mentor, be sure to do your research on their professional background and interests before your first meeting. Utilize online resources like Google and LinkedIn to find out what companies your mentor has worked with, any articles they’ve published or other insights that can help direct your conversation. Referencing their past experience or a recent feature on them in the news shows that you’re committed to investing in the relationship and came prepared.

Be on time.

If you’ve set up a time to talk, make sure to be available to talk at that time. When you’re ready to dial-in on time, if not early, you show that you’re respectful of the mentor’s time. For the best video calls, find a room where there will be limited background noise and a decent wifi connection. But even mentors understand if you need to make a last minute change due to events that you can’t control. Communication is key so send a note apologizing for missing the call and a brief explanation for why you couldn’t make it. 

Mentors are sounding boards, not oracles.

Good mentors will advise you based on their professional and personal experiences, but few will try to direct your life choices. It’s unfair to expect that your mentor will be able to give you all the answers or tell you exactly what to do. What they can do is help you organize your thoughts, weigh your options and listen to your decision-making process. 

Mentor/mentee relationships can be meaningful for both parties when you both understand the other’s expectations. If you follow our guidelines above, you’ll be setting yourself up for a successful mentoring experience, no matter if you’re looking for one video call or a longer mentoring relationship.

If you have any questions about mentorship or how InstaViser can help you build a mentor network at your company, send us a note at coach@instaviser.com and your question could be featured in our next “Ask InstaViser” post.