Working with a mentor is an excellent way to develop your professional skills and learn more about how to advance your career. In the Georgia State Women’s Mentoring Program, we expect the following from our mentees:
- Help your mentor help you. Mentors are most helpful when you’ve got a clear idea of where you need advice and guidance. You should have a clear sense of your strengths and weaknesses, and of the areas where you need you think the most advice.
- Expect support, not miracles. Your mentor can’t solve your problems for you. What he or she can do is offer an alternative perspective, give you some feedback, serve as a sounding board, and help you identify other resources that may be useful.
- Be prepared to take feedback. Even when we ask for an honest evaluation, it can sometimes be uncomfortable to hear it. Be willing to learn new things, hear new perspectives, and be responsive to constructive criticism.
- Follow through. If you and your mentor decide on a particular course of action, follow through on it and report back to your mentor. Working through a project or personal initiative with a mentor is a powerful learning experience.
- Keep confidences. Your mentoring relationship may well involve sharing information that it is not appropriate to broadcast to other co-workers or staff members. Both mentors and mentees are subject to the expectation of professional confidentiality. Although this confidentiality is legally limited, neither of you should share the content of your discussions with anyone else without the written permission of the other.
- Attend program events. The monthly events are designed to expand your skills and to spark interest in issues that you may discuss with your mentor. They are a vital part of the program and we expect mentees to attend all program events.
There are some common – but unrealistic – expectations of mentors that can lead to bad feelings on both sides. Please be aware of what you can’t expect from your mentor or this program:
- A mentor is not obliged to provide you with personal introductions to other people unless the mentor is comfortable doing so.
- Do not ask your mentor for official recommendations for promotions or new positions.
- Do not expect any kind of automatic raise or promotion from participating in the program.
- Do not expect your mentor to single-handedly drive the process. You should take an active role in planning meetings, choosing topics and shaping your own career development.