We live in a fast-paced world with information overload. As a result, many of us may avoid doing adequate preparation prior to meeting with our mentor. I would like to encourage all mentorees to think about preparation as not something to do, but rather, as time spent focusing on what's been important to you since your last mentoring meeting. Taking 5-15 minutes to reflect will not only enrich your meeting but may bring up issues that you hadn't thought of before that could benefit from your mentoring relationship. So here are a few ideas on how to spend time preparing.
Go to a quiet place to do this and put your thoughts on paper. Ask yourself:
- What was the most important event that has occurred since your last meeting with your mentor? This could be a business event or a personal event. Do you want to share this with your mentor? If not, why not?
- What was the most difficult/challenging event that occurred since your last meeting? How was it resolved? If not resolved, where do things stand at the moment? How can your mentor assist you at this point in obtaining resolution of the issue? If the issue was resolved, what lessons have you learned that you feel with be important to share with your mentor?
- Is there anything from your last mentoring session that you feel you want to revisit with your mentor?
- What do you want to accomplish in your next meeting and what assistance do you want from your mentor?
- Have you provided your mentor with feedback about working together? If not, is this something you'd like to do at your next meeting? What specific feedback would you like to give? Is there any specific feedback you want from your mentor as well?
These are just some suggested thoughts in preparing. Another approach is to write down your thoughts after each meeting and revisit your notes in preparing as this will allow you to complete any unfinished business or it may give you further ideas you've forgotten since then.
The key is to prepare so you gain as much as possible from each mentoring session. For more information, you may also download our free Tips and Tricks on Creating a Successful Mentoring Relationship.