Three tips for the first-time mentee

Three tips for the first-time mentee

Looking for a mentor? CPA Alberta has matched hundreds of professionals through the CPA Alberta Mentorship Programs. But before you jump into the world of mentorship, and start building a wealth of knowledge, you must first learn to be a receptive mentee. Checking off the skills below will ensure you get the most out of your mentee/mentor relationship.

1 – Willingness and Ability to Self-Evaluate

Mentees need to be able to assess their skills objectively and evaluate potential opportunities for self-development. They should have a personal vision, specific career/life goals and a good grasp on current career realities. This self-evaluation is required for the Mentee to set objectives within the mentoring relationship. Before asking for help, Mentees should know their tentative  career/life goals, their strengths, the development they need and the specific assistance they would like. The more they understand about themselves, the more accurately they can present their goals to their potential Mentor. Some ways to demonstrate their ability to evaluate their skills include:

  • Understand what is important to them, what they value and what they desire most;
  • Recognize areas which they perform well in, find concrete examples of behaviours they can perform at a good-to-excellent level;
  • Identify specific weaknesses or areas in which others have indicated that the Mentee needs to grow and develop;
  • Set tentative one-to-five year goals for both personal and professional lives; and
  • Describe accurately the reality of work situations in which they are involved.

2 – Commitment and Building Trust

Mentees must be committed to achieving the objectives of a mentoring relationship. Persistence is an important part of the process. The more the Mentor is able to trust in the Mentee’s ability and willingness, the more committed he will be to the partnership. This trust develops over time as the Mentor observes appropriate behaviours on the part of the Mentee.  To become trustworthy, Mentees must:

  • Keep confidences shared with their Mentor;
  • Spend quality time together;
  • Refrain from criticizing their Mentor to others;
  • Respect boundaries set by their Mentor;
  • Admit errors and take responsibility to correct them; and
  • When they disagree with their Mentor, tactfully explain why. It is not productive to be a “yes-person”.

3 – Listening Actively

Active listening is an important skill for both Mentors and Mentees. When Mentees listen well, they demonstrate to their Mentors that they are interested and understand what they are saying. Mentees can demonstrate their active listening by:

  • Showing interest with encouraging responses such as “hmmm…” and “yes…” or by paraphrasing certain comments in their questions to show they understand;
  • Using nonverbal signs of understanding, such as nodding their heads, leaning forward, and smiling;
  • Avoiding the interruption of others when they are talking;
  • Showing interest and remembering comments made in previous meetings; and
  • Summarizing key elements of conversations as the meeting draws to a close.

Over the past five years, CPA Alberta has matched over 200 mentors and mentees through the CPA Alberta Mentorship Program. If you are interested in registering, please email mentorship@cpaalberta.ca or visit the CPA Alberta websitePlease note: the deadline to apply as a mentee or mentor for the 2018/19 Mentorship Program is September 28.