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How to have a productive conversation with a mentor

Written by
Gabriela Dittrichova
Published on
June 24, 2021

Mentoring starts with you. Before you reach out to a mentor, first decide what you want to achieve and why. Knowing your goals will not only help you find the right mentor, but also make your mentoring experience more effective. The Femme Palette program helps you with the matching process, so you can focus on having a productive conversation with your mentor. Here is what you should keep in mind in your mentoring sessions.  


1. Be clear

  • Identify your why. Before you apply for a mentoring program or reach out to your potential mentor, clarify your main objectives. You have probably heard about Simon Sinek’s Start With Why - make this your mantra and follow through. Once you know what you want to achieve and what problem to solve, finding the right mentor will become significantly easier and more effective. 

TIP FOR MENTEES

Download the Femme Palette Guide to Mentorship which offers a number of useful questions and sheets to help you identify your goals and expectations. 

  • What are my strengths and interests? 
  • What are my goals and aspirations? 
  • What are the greatest challenges?

2. Build trust

  • Get to know your mentor/mentee. Once you are matched with a mentor, your number one priority should be to build trust. Ask open questions, discuss your fears, have an honest conversation and be prepared to discuss mistakes. It is the fu*k-ups that people are most interested in and that we can all learn from. Share each other's successes, and become a mutual inspiration for one another. 

TIP FOR MENTORS:

Try asking your mentee direct questions to get to know them better. Remember to be brutally honest and open. Here are a few things you could discuss:

  • Who do you admire? 
  • What would you like to know about me? 
  • What do you think is your unique value? 
  • What are your expectations from me as a mentor? 
  • What type of guidance do you need and how long will it last?
  • This is what I am struggling with. What is your experience like? 
  • I am interested in XYZ. What are your biggest passions?

3. Collaborate

  • Achieve more together. Once you establish a relationship, make regular meetings your priority. Only then can you see direct impact and make positive progress every time you meet. Meeting your goals is also guaranteed through effective communication. Learn to give and receive feedback, a skill applicable across a range of industries, and be specific in stating how you could help one another, why, when and where. Set up clear milestones, share resources and networks. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help.  

TRY THIS OUT: 

  • How do my weaknesses affect my success? 
  • I’d like to clarify these goals and/or objectives. 
  • How can you overcome such and such challenges? 
  • Can you bridge the gap between your goals and your skills? 
  • What can be done about this mistake? How would you approach it? 
  • Let’s share insights about creating a strong brand / developing leadership skills / … 

4. Grow together 

  • Inspire each other. As the bond between the mentor and the mentee deepens, remember to maintain enough respect and stay proactive in your relationship. Don’t take it for granted because people are constantly busy. Show respect to your mentor / mentee and thank them for the time and energy they invest in you. Also, remember to continuously reassess and revisit your goals to help you stay on the right track. 

ASK THESE QUESTIONS:

  • What, in your opinion, is holding me back? 
  • How can I prepare for an upcoming situation?
  • Who do I need to involve in the decision-making? 
  • I have succeeded in ABC, what can I do next?

The number of questions you can ask your mentor is endless. Always remember to stay open and honest to be able to keep moving forward swiftly. Mentoring is a journey, not a race, and though you are not alone, you have to choose the direction in which to go. Mentor is here to give you guidance and assess the most suitable paths for you, but it is up to you to decide where you will go and why. Through the right conversation, you will find the road that leads to success. What are you waiting for? Go and set off on an adventure now!


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