How to be a good mentor, mentee or both!

Sherilyn Shackell, , George Liso Thole, Madelaine Allen
A panel of experienced mentors and mentees to share their experiences on how to make the most out of a mentorship relationship.

Key takeaways on how to be a good mentor, mentee or both

  • [19:29] Never pay for mentoring—it should be freely given and gratefully received.
  • [41:18] Before seeking out a mentor, clarify your strengths and what you need to build on.
  • [44:53] F*** imposter syndrome—it’s a self-diagnosed disease.
  • [47:03] Mentorship unlocks inclusion.

[07:34] Why is mentorship important to you?

  • Sherilyn Shackell:
    • Mentorship is a gift.
    • It is often confused with coaching.
      • Mentorship is the complete opposite of coaching.
        • Coaches lead the coachee to come up with their own solutions, their own path, and their own ideas.
        • Mentors will impart their mentee advice on what they might do if they were in their situation.
      • A mentor is…
        • …part-teacher
        • …part-guide
        • …part-guru
  • George Liso Thole:
    • Mentorship is more powerful when mentor and mentee have shared experiences.
    • Using social capital to open doors for others is very important.
  • Annabel Venner:
    • Everybody in their career, no matter how successful, has challenges at certain points.
  • Madelaine Allen:
    • Mentees should take care to be prepared before their mentoring sessions.
    • Be clear and specific with your questions, and share options from your own experience.
    • Open-mindedness leads to the best conversations.

[26:49] How do you prepare for mentoring sessions as a mentee?

  • George Liso Thole:
    • Prepare your questions and structure them in advance to make the most out of your time with your mentor.
    • You don’t have to stick to mentors who are in your specific industry only.
      • The rich diversity of perspectives from individuals of different sectors can also be extremely valuable.
  • Sherilyn Shackell:
      • Mentoring is about give, not get—for both mentors and mentees.

[35:56] How do you find the right mentor?

  • Madelaine Allen:
    • Be really clear about what you want to get out of it.
    • You can also pick someone you admire and simply ask for their time.
      • Let them know exactly what you want to talk about when asking for their mentorship to set expectations right off the bat.
    • Mentors should also share their work publicly so that their areas of expertise are clear.
  • Annabel Venner:
    • Go have a look into who is already open to mentoring, check their background, and see whether they will be helpful to you.
    • Ask the prospective mentee exactly what they want out of their first session to see if it’s a right fit on a practical level.
  • Sherilyn Shackell:
    • Don’t write, “Can you be my mentor?” to a complete stranger.
    • Mentors don’t wear labels.
      • The best mentors are those individuals that you naturally gravitate to for input and advice.
    • There are people you already know who would be great mentors, and they may be a peer or even junior to you.
    • Know what skills you want to build on.
  • George Liso Thole:
    • A lot of people want mentorship, but they just don’t know where to begin or where to look.
    • Mentorship should be a part of the work culture of organizations so that their people understand and appreciate the benefits of mentorship.
    • Mentorship unlocks inclusion.
    • You’re never too old for mentorship.

[52:46] What do you do when a mentor-mentee relationship doesn’t go the way you wanted it to?

  • Madelaine Allen:
    • Always set clear expectations from the start to avoid mentorship-gone-wrong.
    • Make the relationship informal and don’t be overly strict with time duration.
  • Sherilyn Shackell:
    • Don’t worry if the chemistry doesn’t work.
    • It’s a happy accident if you develop a life-long mentor-mentee relationship.
      • Don’t seek a relationship where you’re joined to the hip for the rest of your life.
      • The important point is to find value in the specific timeframe you set.
    • Sometimes, you learn more from people you don’t like than from those you do.