Ten Tips for Mentees

1) Initiate. In order to sustain the mentoring relationship, take the initiative to ask your mentor a question, to let him or her know your educational and professional interests and objectives, and to ask about his or her own experiences.

2) Honor your commitment. Your mentor probably has a very demanding job. He or she has volunteered to take on the added responsibility of mentoring. Please be appreciative of your mentor’s time and investment; respond in a timely manner to your mentor’s questions and comments. If you don’t have the time to respond at length, send a short message letting this person know you will be in contact when you have the opportunity.

3) Help your mentor help you. Tell your mentor how she or he can be most helpful to you.

4) Expect support, not miracles. You can expect a certain level of support and advice from a mentor, but he or she can’t solve your problems for you. Perhaps the most valuable quality a mentor can offer is an alternative point of view. A mentor can put the situation in perspective, offer feedback, serve as a sounding board, and identify others whose brain you might pick or activities you can engage in or small ways you can position your work to meet your goals as well as resources that may be helpful to you.

5) Communicate clearly. Initiate contact with your mentor if you have questions or would like to discuss something. Identify your needs and communicate them as clearly as possible to your mentor. It may be helpful to put some focused energy into organizing your thoughts and concerns before talking to your mentor, so that the time is spent wisely.

6) Be teachable. Be willing to learn new things, obtain another perspective, and be responsive to suggestions and constructive criticism.

7) Keep up your end. Work hard at being a good mentee.

8) Follow through. When you decide to act on your mentor’s suggestions, act in a timely manner and then report back to him or her.

9) Look ahead at your calendar. Are there any days you know that you’ll be offline or ultra- busy? If so…let the other person know, so that if she or he doesn’t hear from you, your mentor knows it’s because you’re away or you’re swamped.

10) Correct misunderstandings when they happen. Get in touch with your mentor before a concern becomes a problem.

For more information about building a successful mentor/mentee relationship, read about Reasonable Expectations for Mentors and Mentees and the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Protégés (Mentees).

These tips were provided by the World Bank.