Are you feeling a bit nervous about meeting your mentor for the first time and a little unsure what to expect? We hear you, your first meeting can be a little daunting. But with a little bit of preparation beforehand, you’ll be walking in there feeling confident and ready to take full advantage of the skills your mentor has to offer!
We’ve put together a few simple tips to help prepare you for your first mentoring session:
- Do your homework Each session with your mentor only lasts an hour and you want to get as much out of this time as possible. It’s a good idea to have a bit of a game plan going into the session to make sure the discussion goes in the direction that will be most valuable for you. To help this happen, take the time to research your mentor and the experiences they have. In your first session, your mentor will be trying to work out how they can best help you, so the more direction you can give them on this the better.
- Set your intention(s) Grab a pen and paper and write down what it is you would like to achieve throughout your 3 month mentorship period. You might like to write down what your current roadblocks are, the key soft and hard skills you feel you are lacking, or how you would like to feel at the end of the mentorship period. You can use this as the basis for setting your 3 month goal with your mentor. Because your mentor match will last just 3 months, the more specific you can be with regards to what you want to get out of the three months the better. If you aren’t 100% sure on what it is you would like to work on, no problem, that in itself is what you might try achieve; clarity.
- Take initiative Be proactive with your conversations with your mentor. Respond to emails quickly, follow up when necessary and book in times to meet. Make it easy for them to catch up with you and minimise in-between admin.
- Be prepared to be honest and authenticYou don’t have to pretend like you have everything under control. Let your mentor know what’s going on and what you’d like them to help you with. The more honest you can be, the better your mentor will be able to help. If the idea of being vulnerable makes you feel uncomfortable then it might be a good opportunity to push yourself outside your comfort zone and practice this behaviour.
- Ask questions when you need toDon’t be afraid to ask your mentor questions back to understand their perspectives and what’s guiding their advice or opinions. In your first session, ask questions to this to figure out whether it’s a good fit, and if they’ll be able to help you move forward from where you currently are. As a mentee, it’s also your responsibility to work with your mentor to find out out how you can get the most value out of the relationship.
- You don’t have to take everything your mentor says as gospelWe all have our own opinions and if you feel something your mentor says or advice that is given isn’t quite right for you, you’re in choice as to whether you decide to take it on or not. Nothing is right or wrong, it’s about what suits you!
- Do the agreed workIf you set goals in your session, make sure you take the agreed action by the agreed deadline. To make progress, you must take action, you can’t just talk about it. It will become frustrating for your mentor if you are not doing the work between the session to get the results.
And lastly, have fun! Not only is this a chance to learn some new skills and experiences, it’s also an opportunity to connect with other awesome women and build lasting relationships.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Show up and see what happens.