Mentors and Coaches: How to Be a Great Mentee or Learner

When you invest your time in being a mentee you will be rewarded with accelerated learning and experiences from your mentor. You will learn from and avoid the mistakes that they may have made, learn about your industry, meet great people, form valuable relationships and be able to mentor someone in your future. If your organisation offers a mentoring program, sign up and get involved. If there isn't a formal mentoring program, suggest one or identify people you would like to learn from and approach them about mentoring you. If you are going to approach someone about being your mentor make sure you present yourself professionally and show your prospective mentor that you are serious and committed by having a mentoring plan in place.

When I chose to become a professional speaker I sought out the most talented Australian speaker I could find. He was accomplished, fantastic presenter, had won many client and industry awards and ran a profitable speaking business. I asked him to mentor me and for 12 months I followed him everywhere. I went to client meetings, sold books for him at the back of the room when he presented, helped him on projects, worked in his office, paid for interstate flights to get uninterrupted discussions during travel time. Spending 12 months with him accelerated my speaking career in an astronomical way, helped me form valuable relationships and also lead to my next exciting career move. I was a dedicated mentee and would do anything to serve and learn.

Have a written agreed guideline. Make an agreement between both parties of the responsibilities and commitments of both parties.

Schedule for 6 months only. This gives you both an agreed timeframe to achieve effective communication and sharing of experience.

Meet monthly. Make a regular time each month for one hour to meet. As the mentee you must fit in with the mentor's schedule.

Set an agenda. Advise your mentor what you would like to discuss, what challenges you have been facing and any questions you may have. To assist you develop this agenda you may like to keep the list on going through the month so you are very prepared for your meeting.

If can't meet in person, book a teleconference. You don't need to meet face to face (especially if your mentor is busy). You should still have an agenda and clear outcomes of what you want from the meeting.

Meet in a location that suits the mentor. Find locations they enjoy being in i.e. the favourite coffee shop, airport lounges or the beach. Make an effort to drive or commute to the location that fits in with their schedule.

Do your homework. Your mentor might give you activities to try or challenges for the next month. Always complete these tasks and report back to your mentor on your success. Don't waste your mentor's time or advice.

Promote your mentor to others. If you know of businesses or opportunities for your mentor, always let others know about their skills, achievements and success.

Thank your mentor with the gift of service. You could assist them with a project, help in their business unit, driving them to an event, and take them to the airport. Being a good mentee is all about serving your mentor to create opportunities to draw from their experience.

Do your homework on your mentor. Find out what they like to listen to, what books they like to read, movies they enjoy, family details. This helps you respond to them and also thank them in ways that are important to them.

Maintain confidentiality. Keep all relevant discussions between you and your mentor private. Never disclose to others your discussions.

Make time. Find opportunities to support your mentor and also debrief conversations. If they are driving for long periods of time, keep them company (either face to face or on the phone), if they are flying interstate for the day, go with them and use the uninterrupted time on the plane to gain wisdom and assistance.

Avoid contacting your mentor outside of agreed times. If you both agree you will meet once a month, save all of your discussions for this monthly meeting. If you need to contact them try SMS messaging or email so you don't interrupt their daily activities.

Try to outdo your mentor. Learn from their experiences, view their templates but always try and develop your own work even better than theirs. If you are successful, you could share your new templates or ideas with them so you can add value to their business by improving on their ideas or systems.

Never ask your mentor "What can I do for you?" Always be creative and find ways to assist them without being asked. Offer to do some data entry in their office, offer to pick them up from the airport instead of them taking a cab, and offer to help recruit staff for their business - find ways to help them without expecting anything in return.

Neen is a Global Productivity Expert: by looking at how they spend their time and energy - and where they focus their attention - Neen helps people to rocket-charge their productivity and performance. A dynamic speaker, author and corporate trainer, Neen demonstrates how boosting your productivity can help you achieve amazing things. With her unique voice, sense of fun and uncommon common-sense, Neen delivers a powerful lesson in productivity. Find out more at

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