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How to Make the Most of a Conversation with a Business Mentor

How to Make the Most of a Conversation with a Business Mentor

Around 76% of people in business think that a mentor plays a vital role in their growth and development.  However, another 24%  harbor a different opinion about mentorship.  In case you are from the latter category, it is time that you find an ideal mentor and develop a rapport with him or her. Having a strong relationship with your mentor will help you succeed in your goals. 

A study on the power of mentorship has clearly shown that people with mentors perform better, advance in their business faster, and experience more work-life satisfaction. On the other hand, mentors also benefit, as we all know, “to teach is to learn twice.”  However, the problem is that often people do not know how to find the ideal business mentor, establish a relationship with them and make the most of a conversation with a mentor.  Here are a couple of tips on building a strong relationship with your mentor and getting the best of a conversation with them. 

Define your Goals

Before you meet your mentor, get out a pen and paper, and write out your business and performance goals. Ensure that they are realistic. Subsequently, make a list of the biggest obstacles to achieving them. This will help you decide on what kind of conversation you need to have with your mentor.  Maybe you are looking to develop more skills, expand your network in a particular sector, or build confidence.  By understanding where you want to be and by recognizing the biggest opportunities and gaps to getting there, you will identify how your mentor can help you. 

Provide Job Description  

Having been equipped with your business goals and what you need to do to achieve them, think about how your mentor can help you.  Write out the specific type of help you need to seize the opportunities and/or navigate your challenges.  Perhaps you need your mentor to help you accomplish a project, make introductions to people at a certain level, or coach you to become a tough negotiator. While preparing a job description, make sure to also include the “why.”  Explain why mentoring will tap into something bigger for you. Ensure you include a job description when you reach out to your mentors. When you do this, it will help you to get the most out of your conversation with your mentor. 

Get to Work 

Following the homework comes the fun part. Get to know one another by having a talk about your business background, personal interests, and things that motivate you. You may also ask the mentor to break the ice.  On the other hand, if you would like to check in frequently, set up a meeting schedule. Tell them about any challenges you are facing in your business, and ask for recommendations.  Ask categoric questions like what would you do if you were at my place? Have you handled the same situation in the past? 

Walk away from the meetings with your mentor with action items.  You should plan what is your next move would be? What tasks do you need to complete before the next meeting? Etcetera. Use accountability as motivation. You may also want to evaluate how the relationship is going and discuss mutual expectations. Be open to receiving feedback and take responsibility for your own professional growth. A good mentoring relationship should challenge you both personally and professionally. 

Create an Accountability Process 

After having a couple of simple conversations with your mentor, try asking a more formal question like would your mentor be willing to sit down with you once a month for the next few months until you achieve your business goals or solve your problems? If yes, consider creating a simple document outlining what you will accomplish in those six months together. While it might seem an overstatement, it will help add clarity for both you and your mentor. It will also help you set an agenda for coming meetings. You may suggest it by saying: “I truly appreciate your time, and I really want to make sure I am making the most of it. I was thinking about whether I could prepare a simple document to share my business goals with you, my commitment, and what milestones I hope to achieve in the next few months? I think it will hold me accountable to come prepared for our conversations.” 

Follow Up and Say Thank You 

After every meeting, you should send a thank-you note to your business mentor. This aside, once your mentorship arrangement ends, you should continue to say thanks. You never know when you may need your mentor’s help again. So, it is important to ensure that you always have a strong relationship. This way, you can make the most out of the conversations you have with your business mentor.

The Editorial Team

The Editorial Team

Hi there, we're the editorial team at WomELLE. We offer resources for business and career success, promote early education and development, and create a supportive environment for women. Our magazine, "WomLEAD," is here to help you thrive both professionally and personally.

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