• Mel Butcher

1 Step for Mentees

Updated: Jan 16


two lattes in ceramic mugs

It's natural to need help and want a guide at multiple points in a career. This is true for early career years, for sure. But also when we make a step up in role.


New responsibilities often come with new unknowns.


And so, perhaps we decide we need to find a mentor.


If you are a potential mentee, there's one step you can take at the beginning of the mentorship journey that will set you up for success.


A mindset shift: committing to excellence, to yourself and your employer.


In her book, Make the Most of Mentoring, Susan Colantuono gave us an example of a mentee's ( or protégé's) commitment.


“I recognize that it is an honor and privilege to participate in this program and that it is an awesome responsibility. Because the mentoring program exists to serve the organization’s needs for leadership, I commit to my mentor to develop the business, strategic, and financial acumen I need to contribute to the organization at higher levels and in different functions and therefore, more effectively in my current position. I also commit to my mentor to work on my personal greatness and enhance my interpersonal skills. I realize that fundamentally the organization’s mentoring program is not about me and that there are no guarantees that my participation will result in a promotion. My participation is about testing my potential to contribute. My participation is about proving myself worthy of my mentor’s advocacy. And perhaps most importantly, my participation is about being worthy of entering a pool of leaders prepared to contribute at higher levels.”


Powerful.


But let's say your organization doesn't offer a mentoring program. You're savvy, though, and you've found a mentor on the outside. How might we rewrite the commitment? Here is one take:


I recognize that it is an honor, privilege, and responsibility to receive mentorship from an industry professional. I recognize that my mentor has their own reasons for providing mentorship that are greater than me individually. I commit to my mentor to develop the business, strategic, and financial acumen I need to contribute to the industry at higher levels and in different functions and, therefore, more effectively in my current position. I also commit to my mentor to work on my personal greatness and enhance my interpersonal skills. I will honor the fact that receiving mentorship is, in part, about proving myself worthy of my mentor's advocacy. And that one day, perhaps quite soon, I am obligated to pay-it-forward to the next generation of professionals. With all these understandings, I commit to excellence both for myself and for my mentor.


Some time ago, I interviewed a woman who shared the story of her career manifesto. When we create a framework of values and commitments for ourselves, especially when we write it down, we are more likely to follow through to success. You could think of the mentee commitment you write as manifesto to your own career progress.

"Mentorship 101" - Episode 9 of the Lead to Soar podcast was released today. In it, I interview Michelle about other core aspects of mentoring relationships. You can listen on iTunes or wherever you download podcasts.


The next session of the Make the Most of Mentoring course inside A Career that Soars also just opened for registration. Learn more here.

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