What is a Mentor?

In order to nurture a relationship with a mentor, it is important to understand what a mentor is. A mentor is a person who guides someone less experienced by building trust and modeling positive behaviors. An effective mentor understands that his or her role is to be dependable, engaged, authentic, and tuned into the needs of the mentee.

What is a Mentee?

The mentee is the student who needs to absorb the mentor's knowledge and have the ambition and desire to know what to do with this knowledge. This means that the mentee determines the capacity of the mentoring connection. The mentee decides upon the amount of help and guidance he/she needs.

10 Tips For Nurturing The Mentoring Relationship

  1. Always Keep in Mind a Mentor is a Volunteer

  2. A Mentee Should Take Responsibility for their Own Learning

  3. Each Party Should Develop Trust

  4. Be Respectful of the Mentors Time

  5. Set Realistic Expectations

  1. Come Prepared for Each Meeting

  2. Be Open to the Process and Your Needs

  3. Recognize A Mentor has Limitations and Appreciate their Support

  4. Take Risks and Participate Fully

  5. Enjoy the Process, Be Flexible and have Fun


Which one of these is not a role of a mentor?

Benefits Of Mentoring

Mentees have lots to gain from a mentoring relationship, like opportunities to:

  • Learn from someone's experience

  • Ask questions candidly

  • Get advice and an outside perspective

  • Make connections or introductions to others

Example in Action

Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash

Let's say that Fatima, a new Attorney recently passed the bar exam and is hired by a prominent law firm. Fatima has many things to learn like best practices, firm culture, how to effectively handle assignments, etc. A mentor can help Fatima adapt to the new firm, build skills, meet others, and navigate her new responsibilities.

Fatima is not the only one gaining from the experience. Mentors can learn many things from their mentees including patience, current trends, and how to listen purposefully.

Mentoring Matters

Now that you have an understanding of what a mentor is and the role of the mentee, think about what you want from a mentor and how you can be fully engaged in the process. Answer these questions:

What are some characteristics that you desire in a mentor?

What can you do as a mentee to ensure you benefit from the experience?


As a mentee, what are some characteristics that I need?

Take Action

Let Your Mentoring Relationship Thrive

Now that you understand the relationship of a mentor and mentee, now is the time cultivate yours. If you do not have a mentor in place, take the next few weeks to identify someone who can serve in that role.

Once you have identified that person, reach out to them to see if you they would be willing to help you and begin your mentoring relationship.

There's a wealth of information and guidance that awaits you so make sure to embrace the opportunity to grow and learn.


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