oneuponedown Mentee guide

The purpose of this guide is to act as a supporting resource for OneUpOneDown mentees throughout their role as a mentee. It is to help mentees get the best out of their mentorship experience. An excellent mentor-mentee experience requires a collaborative effort from both sides. The mentorship relationship provides an opportunity for mentees to take control of their learning and development, supported by a mentor with the relevant experience to guide them through. In this guide we cover:

  • The role of a mentee
  • Guidelines and expectations
  •  Your first mentoring session
  • Ongoing sessions
  • Communication
  • FAQ’s
Get the full pdf version of the mentee guide:


Through mentorship, a mentee gains new perspectives, insights, and the support of someone who believes in them and their ability to achieve their goals and ambitions. The mentor is not there to tell you what to do; rather, they serve as a guide to help you realise possibilities, overcome obstacles, gain clarity and take meaningful action.

As a mentee, your role is to be open and honest with any challenges you’re facing or areas you’d like support in, and shape the conversations so you get what you need out of the sessions. The mentoring relationship is a two person effort, therefore it’s important for you to drive the conversation as much as the mentor. Additionally, it’s your role to take action based on your sessions, then build on them as you go .

Here are a few tips for how you can approach and manage your mentoring relationship:

  • Learn as much as you can about your mentor, their experience, what they’re good at and how you can use the three months to take advantage of their knowledge and experiences. This is particularly important in preparation for your first session.
  • Agree on your relationship expectations upfront. It’s important to set clear expectations around how you would like your relationship to work best. This may include discussing: varying communication styles, frequency of meetings, method of meetings (online vs in person), being clear on your desired outcomes etc.
  • Be open and honest in discussion. Conversations should be two ways and the discussion co-shaped by you and your mentor. Be open and honest with your communication and don’t be afraid to give feedback as well as challenge the conversation where you see fit. Being honest and authentic with your communication will help build trust and allow your mentor to provide support appropriately.
  • Remember, you know yourself better than anyone. It’s important to remember that mentors are offering support and advice based on their learned experiences. What they offer might not always be what you need and/or want to hear. Remember, you know yourself better than anyone so if you feel as though a piece of advice doesn’t align with you, you don’t have to take it on.
  • Take action. If you and your mentor agree on actions to take as a result of your session, we highly recommend doing them! Progress comes from putting in the work and when your mentor sees that you are doing this, they’ll feel that their time is valued and they’re doing a great job supporting you. Report back to your mentor after you’ve taken these steps to see what worked and didn’t work so you can both learn from it.
  • Be proactive with your communication and when booking in your next meeting. Try to respond to your mentor as soon as possible, so they know they’re adding value and/or you’re interested in continuing the mentoring relationship. If you do find you can no longer continue, be proactive in communicating with us (OneUpOneDown) so we can managing ending the relationship and rematching your mentor.

The mentee is the driver, and the mentor is the copilot, helping them get to their destination.
- Victoria Black


“It was extremely satisfying to see just how much my mentee developed and how she's now able to make decisions using the confidence she's gained”

Kathryn George, mentor
Digital Designer | Illustrator | Motion Graphic Artist
Auckland, New Zealand


“It’s a privilege to hold space and guide others as they take charge.”​

Tash Pieterse, mentor
Certified & Award Nominated Leadership Coach
Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand


OneUpOneDown Mentorship is designed to maximise the learning experience and engagement for both mentor and mentee. Each mentor-mentee match lasts three months, providing enough time to build a trusted relationship and realise and implement new insights and actions, without losing focus and engagement.

Our mentorship operates under the following guidelines:

  • Meeting frequency – Each match lasts three months. Mentors and mentees are expected to have 4×1 hour meetings throughout the three months, twice in the first month and once each month following. If you both agree to meet more regularly, this is great. Many of our successful matches have found meeting every fortnight works well too, to continue to hold them accountable and keep up momentum. It is up to the mentor to let the mentee know if you are available and willing to meet more regularly.
  • Location – Our mentors and mentees are based worldwide, so mentoring sessions are run online, using your preferred video conferencing platform (e.g. Zoom or Google Meet). If you are matched with a mentor in the same city as you, you may like to connect in person for a couple of your sessions or find a balance between this and video calling.

MENTEE Expectations

We aim to provide you with the best possible mentor-mentee match, mentorship support and overall experience. To assist us in doing so, we have the following expectations for you in your role as a mentee:

  • Communicate with us. If you find your mentor has dropped off, is missing meetings or is not as engaged as you were hoping for, we expect that you let us know. We can’t do anything to rectify the situation if we are unaware it exists. Please also reach out if you have general questions or would like to know more about your role as a mentee. 



  • Show up. Mentoring can be deprioritised when other things pop up or life happens. However, you might be surprised how valuable a mentoring session is even if you are busy and have other priorities. Please respect the time and commitment that has gone into the relationship and make it a priority during the matching.



  • Keep up the momentum. It’s easy to kick off a mentoring relationship with a lot of momentum then let it drop over time and
    become disengaged. We expect you as a mentee to do your best to stay engaged, honour your commitment and continually contribute to the relationship. We understand that life happens and you may have to pull out of a mentoring relationship temporarily, this is fine. Just please let us know!
Tip: Schedule your next meeting immediately after the previous one. This will keep momentum and support you to not missing call times and/or creating time in your calendar.
Your mentor may also have their own expectations for your engagement, based on their experience of how to make the most of the time you have together. During your first session, you could ask them if they have any expectations for how you can work best together.

If you want great mentors, you have to become a great mentee. If you want to lead, you have to first learn to follow.
- Tim Ferris


The first mentoring session is crucial for establishing your mentor-mentee relationship, discussing expectations, and setting desired outcomes. To ensure a valuable experience, it’s essential to clarify what you hope to achieve right from the start.

Goals for the First Session:

  • Build a rapport and get to know each other.
  • Understand why you were matched and how your mentor can add the most value.
  • Discuss how you’d like your sessions to run, including frequency and communication methods.
  • Ensure you feel comfortable being authentic and addressing important challenges.


Before the meeting, research your mentor’s background to understand their experience and how you can learn from them. You’ll receive your mentor’s bio and, if available, their LinkedIn profile. Use this information to guide your first conversation.

Suggested Discussion Questions:

These questions can help steer your initial conversation. Also, prepare some specific questions based on your mentor’s experience.

Background and Experience:

  • What is the story behind how you got into your current position?
    Can you tell me more about your experience in [specific area, e.g., transitioning from a large corporate to a startup]?
  • What are some key areas of personal development that have contributed to your success?
  • What do you wish you’d done or known earlier in your career?

Mentorship expectations:

  • What are your expectations of me as a mentee?
  • What motivated you to become a mentor?
  • How can I help you gain value from this relationship?

Sharing About Yourself:

During the session, take the opportunity to share about your background and what you’re seeking in a mentor. Here are some talking points:

  • Background: Provide a brief overview of your personal and professional life.
  • Pivotal Moments: Highlight key moments that have shaped your current approach and thinking.
  • Mentorship Goals: Explain why you’re looking for support and what you hope to gain.
  • Previous Mentorship Experience: If applicable, share past mentorship experiences, including what worked and what didn’t.
  • Strengths and Weaknesses: Discuss where you feel your strengths lie and the areas you’d like to improve.
  • Goals and Aspirations: Discuss current focus, goals and obstacles.
  • Mentorship focus: What you’d like to work towards with your mentor for the three month period.

By preparing and using this guide, you can make the most out of your first mentoring session and set a strong foundation for a successful mentoring relationship.



Before each session it’s helpful to take a little time to think about what you’d like the focus of the session to be, starting by reflecting on the last one. Here are a few reflection questions to check in with how you’re feeling ahead of the session, what you can build on from last time and anything new you’d like to introduce into the conversation:

• How are you feeling?
• What’s top of mind for you right now?
• What are you most excited about at the
• What are you most nervous or fearful of
at the moment?

Last session reflection:
• What did you discuss last session?
• What did you enjoy about your last session?
• What didn’t you enjoy about your last session?
• Is there anything you have realised since this session that has had an impact on you?
• Were there actions you needed to take from last session? If yes, have you done them? If no, why not?
• Is there anything on your mind that needs to be brought up on in this

New topics for this session:

• Are there any new challenges or opportunities that have popped up since last session, that your mentor could help you work through?

• Are there areas you find interesting that your mentor may have some experience in or a new perspective they could offer?

• How do you want to feel when you leave this session and why?


I have had mentors over the years, and they have been invaluable. They have helped me prepare for opportunities. – Condoleezza Rice

effective communication with your mentor

A person’s ability to communicate and the way in which they do so can impact a mentor-mentee relationship. We’ve found that some matches where mentees and mentors have different communication styles, it can be harder for them to form and maintain a connection. Mentors can often be left feeling as though they’ve been ineffective as a mentor, and mentees as though they couldn’t relate to their mentor. In our initial survey, we ask both mentors and mentees to select one or multiple communication styles they feel suits them best, so we can factor this in when finding a suitable match. It’s important to recognise that while we try our best to make great matches, they may not always align and that could be the reason a mentorship doesn’t work, not because your mentor has been ineffective.

If you find that you’re not able to connect with your mentor immediately, or recognise that your mentor has a different communication style than you, try:

1. Asking your mentor how they would like you to communicate with them.

2. Understanding which communication style and/or personality type your mentor is, so you can better understand their thought patterns and/or how they like to give and receive information. For example, if your mentor is direct with their communication, it is likely they are outcome focused and like to understand the purpose of a given topic rather than the small details associated with it.

3. Observing your mentor’s body language. Do they get uncomfortable or look disengaged when you communicate in various ways? Or do they get animated and excited when you communicate a certain way? This should help you understand which style and/or method of communication they prefer.

mentee faq'S


Once both you and your mentor have accepted the match, you will be introduced to each other to arrange your first session. 

There is no set requirement for who reaches out to who first, so don’t hesitate to reach out to your mentor to work out when you will meet for your first session. It is good to be proactive in this sense. Once you have decided the time, you can also be helpful by sending a calendar invite and video conference link. 

how should i schedule the time I meet with my mentor?

A good practice is to decide on the time of your next meeting at the end of each meeting. This way you can check your calendars together and lock it in while you are both present and focused.

Make sure one of you sends a calendar invite to ensure you’re on the same page, and neither miss the scheduled time. 

The commitment within this programme is four meetings across the three month matching period, two meetings in the first month (ideally), one meeting in each of the last months. If you get on really well with your mentor and she is willing to meet more regularly, this is perfectly okay. 

What if my mentor stops responding to my communication?

If your mentor stops responding to your communication, please let us know so we can help to manage the situation.  Reach out to us at [email protected].

For more FAQs please visit: our Knowledge Base:

Get the full pdf version of the mentee guide