Let’s talk about mentors! Last week we took a look at the first big milestone on the path to creating a thriving mentor relationship - initiating. Today, we’ll tackle the second milestone - maintaining.
Once you’ve made the initial contact with your potential mentor and established a baseline relationship then it’s time to keep the relationship moving along smoothly.
Maintaining a great mentor relationship takes work and if you don’t put the time and effort into building it then it can very quickly fall by the wayside and could even leave a sour taste in your mentor’s mouth.
Here are just a few tips on how to maintain a healthy relationship with your mentor:
Come Prepared ConsistentlyBy this point in time, you should have discussed the cadence of your communication and either set up regular times to connect or established a different arrangement to regularly communicate. Now the ball is back in your court! Make sure that every time you meet with your mentor you come prepared. This means you have a list of questions that you’d like to ask, goals for that specific meeting, and, if relevant, an update on the topics that you discussed at your last meeting. Remember that your mentor is taking valuable time out of their day to help you grow - make it as easy as possible for them and set both of yourselves up for success.
Update on Milestones and AccomplishmentsEveryone loves seeing someone they care about succeed and your mentor will be no different. Keep your mentor in the loop as you pass milestones in your career (and personal life if that’s the relationship you have established) and achieve new accomplishments. You don’t need to prepare a full presentation every time you have an update or achievement, simply shoot over a quick email and share the excitement.
Be FlexibleAs you continue to develop your relationship remember that just because something is working for you both today doesn’t mean it will work in 6 months. Be cognizant of your mentor’s workload and other life events. As things change for you both over time, you may find it necessary to adjust the frequency with which you check in or meet in person. Remember, your mentor is volunteering their time to help you succeed so stay flexible and always be prepared to offer an alternative solution that benefits you both.
The value that a mentor can add to your life is immeasurable and when done well, a healthy mentor/mentee relationship can last a very long time (you may even become a mentor yourself which would make your mentor a grand-mentor!). However, finding a mentor, reaching out, and continuing the relationship may seem easier said than done. If you’re interested in finding, establishing, and maintaining a mentor relationship but need help to get started you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office at (310) 614-0323.