It’s hard being a mentee. So many dos and don’ts.
Be focused. Don’t ask questions you are not interested in the answers to. Show gratitude. Make it a two-way exchange. Ugh! One of my mentee’s put it best -- “If I had my sh*t together and was focused, I wouldn’t need a mentor in the first place.”
So, what is the secret to maximizing ones “menteeing” efforts? We asked this question to a handful of successful law students and law firm associates whose mentoring relationship translated to helpful insight, strategy, and guidance that enabled them to accelerate their career path. Not surprisingly, they had different thoughts on what works best but all had in common three principles:
THEY WERE BOLD WITH THEIR SELECTION
They were bold in one of the following three ways:
THEY WERE WILLING TO DISREGARD EVERYTHING THEY LEARNED
Each of the mentees had the same message. They were flexible. They went in with an open mind. They were willing to think about things differently. They recognized that thinking like a lawyer is not necessarily helpful in every situation. They were willing to be wrong. They were willing to say “I don’t know,” or “I hadn’t considered that.” They were willing to be coached.
THEY WERE CLEAR ON THEIR PREFERRED OUTCOME
Each of the mentees did not know what to expect from the relationship but they were clear on at least one specific and tangible goal they wanted help achieving. The law students had identified their dream job but needed insight, and support to create a clear plan for securing the job and to proficiently execute the plan. The law associates were considered rising stars at their firms but needed guidance and strategy to move up to levels of performance and client service faster than they might without the mentoring help.
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