Setting Your Expectations As a Mentor

As a mentor, it’s crucial to engage effectively with your mentee and ensure that the purpose of your mentorship is being fulfilled. This often means receiving feedback and input from your mentee to know whether you are making a difference. In this blog, we will discuss how to set your own expectations and communicate them clearly to your mentee, ensuring your needs are met, you continue to find value in the experience, and you remain motivated.

Identifying What You Want to Get Out of the Mentorship Experience

The first step to clarifying your expectations is to identify what gives you the most fulfillment as a mentor. Consider the following questions:

  • What motivates you?
  • Is it seeing someone else learn, grow, and fulfill their potential, and maximizing your impact in this way?
  • Are you working on developing your skills as a mentor and leader and seeking feedback from your mentee to help you improve and expand your impact?

Once you are clear about your own expectations, you can communicate them effectively with your mentee. This helps ensure that both of you are on the same page and can agree on what will work best.

Remember, you are a role model for the behavior expected in these relationships. By being honest, open, and authentic about your own aspirations, your mentee is likely to reflect these qualities back to you.

Identifying Behaviors That Support Value for Both You and Your Mentee

Here are some aspects to consider:

  • Meeting Expectations: Do you prefer to start with small talk, or dive into deeper topics right away?
  • Preparation: Do you expect your mentee to come prepared with specific topics or questions to discuss?
  • Progress Updates: Would you like your mentee to share their progress on previously discussed goals or challenges at the beginning of each session?
  • Between Sessions: What do you expect your mentee to do or provide you with between sessions? Even if you have no specific expectations, you might appreciate an update.
  • Action Items: Do you expect your mentee to complete certain tasks or follow up on action items discussed during your meetings?
  • Urgent Questions: Do you expect your mentee to reach out to you with urgent questions or issues that arise between sessions?
  • Feedback: How do you prefer to receive feedback from your mentee? Do you want them to be open and honest about what is and isn’t working in the mentorship? Are there specific areas where you would like feedback to help you improve as a mentor? By considering and communicating these expectations, you can create a more effective and mutually beneficial mentoring relationship.

Reaching Agreements with Your Mentee

Expressing your expectations should be approached as a discussion. You and your mentee should agree on parameters for working together. Although you play a leadership role in the relationship, you are not there to dictate what the mentee should do. Engagement is achieved by understanding the mentee’s expectations and collaborating to agree on a structure and expectations that work well for both of you.

Consider this practice as expressing your needs with openness and authenticity, setting a great standard for both you and your mentee moving forward.


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