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Tips for Meeting Your Mentor

Overview

Meeting your mentor can be an exciting event. Here are some tips to keep in mind, for both before and during your first meeting. Here is some advice from the Facility Managers Leader Program FMLP everyone can use.

Prior to Your First Meeting

Your mentor likely has both considerable expertise and a tight time schedule. Dealing with time is a key aspect of successful mentoring. Make sure you are clear about your needs.

Step 1 – Write down (at least):

  • Three things you would like to achieve through mentoring.
    • Rank the three items in order of importance to you.
  • Three things that concern you most about meeting with your mentor.
    • Rank these three things in order of importance.
  • Three attitudes or perspectives you will be able to provide during the mentoring sessions.
  • Three things about yourself that might get in the way of you being able to make the most of the mentoring opportunity.

Step 2 – Prepare (or be prepared to share) a brief autobiography based on the above lists that you can share with your mentor when you first meet. Be sure to also include:

  • Your own vision, mission, or life goals.
  • Things you would like your mentor to provide, if they are not included in your previous lists.

During Your First Meeting

Many mentoring partnerships rely on formal written agreements. The ingredients of such a contract are typically negotiated, but usually include answers to the “who is going to do what and when” logistical questions. In many cases, such agreements spell out the purpose of the mentoring and may even include a list of career goals and work activities expected to achieve those goals. Talk with your mentor about how you would like to approach your agreement.

This can also be a “handshake” arrangement where you outline these informally.

Here is a template to help you craft an informal or formal agreement.

Throughout Your Relationship

  • The focus of most successful mentoring is mutual learning. Feel free to explore what you have to offer the mentor. A sense of humor and a sense of enjoyment during your time together are essential as well.
  • Be prepared to do some homework in order to demonstrate initiative, leadership, and self-reliance.
  • Explore alternative options for asking questions or gaining information other than just relying on your mentor. For example,
    • Use NPS Management Policies or other manuals or documents.
    • Make sure you have done some digging before directing your questions to your mentor.
  • On the other hand, keep your mentor in the picture by letting the mentor know why you are asking her a particular question after having explored other options.
  • If your needs are not being met, discuss this with your mentor. Recognizing your changing needs and finding a respectful way to meet your learning goals are two of the keys to successful mentoring.

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