Congratulations on starting your new job! Most organizations assign a mentor or ask you to find a mentor. Once you have your mentor, you may ask yourself, “now what”? Your mentor should reach out to you to introduce themself and schedule a meeting. Prior to meeting with your mentor, you should reflect on past mentorship experiences, create a personal vision, and know how mentorship should function/operate. Below we have outlined strategies and key questions to ask yourself before meeting with your mentor:
Reflect on past experiences where you have been mentored. Ask yourself important questions like:
- “What worked and didn’t work for me?”
- “How do I prefer to communicate?”
- “What am I looking for in a mentor?”
- “What assumptions do I have about being mentored?”
- “What can I do to benefit the mentoring relationship”
Understanding your own mentoring preferences through self-reflection can help you set boundaries and expectations with your mentor.
2. Create a personal vision
Mentorship is a tool to launch a successful career, but where is the finish line? Your career goals, objectives, and expectations can be established through the creation of a personal vision statement. A complete vision statement will assist you in holding yourself accountable and aid your mentor in understanding who you are and what you view as important. A vision statement can answer questions like:
- “What is your role?”
- “How are you contributing to the success of UF/IFAS Extension?”
- “What impact do you have on the people in your community?”
- “What skills do you need to be successful in your job?”
3. Understand your function in the mentoring relationship
It takes two people to complete a mentoring relationship; so, what are you bringing to the table as a mentee? Consider your role in the mentoring relationship, such as:
- Providing/Receiving Feedback
- Goal Setting
- Building Relationships
Remember, you play an important role in determining the success of your mentoring experience. It will take time, effort, and commitment from both sides. Establishing priorities and expectations ahead of time will aid you throughout the mentoring process.
Schedule a meeting
New hires should be assigned a mentor when they first start, and mentors are advised to reach out to their mentees to schedule a meeting or phone call. If you have not heard from your mentor, feel free to reach out to them by phone or email with a brief introduction. Share your intent to meet with them and work on scheduling a meeting either in person or virtually to discuss the details of your mentoring relationship.
Having a strong and positive relationship with your mentor can create many opportunities as you advance in your career. By attending to the three tips provided, you will be able to build a relationship with your mentor and set yourself up for new connections, innovation, and career success.
Zachary L. J. & Fischler L. A. (2009). The mentee’s guide: making mentoring work for you (1st ed.). Jossey-Bass.
The mission of the Program Development and Evaluation Center (PDEC) is to add value to UF/IFAS Extension through improved program development and evaluation processes and the enhancement of professional competencies based on the science of Extension.