Advice for Mentees 

How to Find a Great Mentor

Finding a mentor can have a profound, positive impact on your career development and well-being at work. Yet many people feel daunted by the process of finding a mentor. That’s where Guider is here to help.

We’re constantly being told by TED Talks, life coaches, career advice blogs and entrepreneurs to find a mentor.

Mentoring has received celebrity endorsements from the likes of Richard Branson, Sheryl Sandberg, Oprah Winfrey and many more.

A mentor is someone who can guide, advise, and support you to achieve your goals and progress in your professional and personal life.

Sounds nice right?

But there’s something about the way the media discusses mentoring that makes it sound rather unattainable, or reserved for the lucky few who were in the right place at the right time.

On top of that, even if you have identified someone you’d like to be mentored by, it’s naturally quite intimidating to approach them and ask for their help.

So how do you find a mentor?

From working with hundreds of mentors and mentees at Guider, we’re experts in what makes the perfect mentoring relationship.

‍Here are our top tips for finding a life changing mentor:

1. Think about what you want to achieve

First thing’s first, why do you want a mentor?

Obviously support and guidance is nice, but what do you actually want to improve or achieve? What goals are you working towards?

Try and write down the answers to these questions before you even think about finding a mentor. This exercise of self-awareness will highlight the areas you want to work on, which will help when it comes to finding a person to help you get there.

Common reasons people find a mentor:

  • To get career direction
  • To learn from someone who has ‘been there and done it’
  • To get support in a specific area
  • To build their network
  • To get career support
  • To work towards a promotion

Whether it’s learning to manage people for the first time, or growing your confidence with public speaking, having a mentor to guide and advise you has a considerable impact.

2. Attract a mentor by taking ownership

Finding a mentor can feel like you’re asking for a lot. You’re asking somebody to give up their time, for free, to help you. It’s easy to feel slightly powerless in this dynamic, as you’re wholly dependent on the generosity of others.

However, this is not a good position to find a mentor from. Instead, you must be hungry to learn and committed to your own success. Your personal and career development doesn’t start when you get a mentor, that’s something you have to own and the mentoring will follow more naturally.

Be the person that somebody wants to mentor. Make a conscious effort to know exactly what you want, put yourself out there, and work hard to attract this high-level help and support.

📖 Check out our tips for taking responsibility for your personal development 📖

3. Assess your current network

It’s tempting to ask a stranger to be your mentor, whether in a desire to reinvent yourself or start your relationship without any preconceptions. However, the challenge of getting a stranger to mentor you is far greater (and more daunting) than somebody who already knows you.

Start by thinking of people you know and admire. These people will already know your personality and will hopefully be more invested in your development.

Remember, your request for mentorship is going to be received much more favourably if that person already knows and respects you.

4. Don’t ask someone outright

If you do have a stranger in mind who you’re desperate to be mentored by (maybe you saw them talk at a conference, or follow them on Twitter) don’t ask them to be your mentor straight away.

No matter how persuasive your outreach might be, this person is likely very busy and desirable, so why would they help you?

What you can do instead is start engaging with them and their work. Share and comment on their updates on social media, attend events they’ll be at, start insightful conversations with them, help solve their problems. It’s essentially like putting in the groundwork towards mentorship.

You can’t expect a stranger to want to help you, but you can be proactive in making them not a stranger!

📖 Take a look at our guide to being a great mentee to get prepared 📖

5. Don’t get stuck on an ideal

If you have an image in mind of what your ideal mentor may be like, forget about it. It can be easy to get stuck waiting for a perfect person to come along that, in reality, doesn’t exist.

A great mentor is someone that inspires you, sparks ideas and is genuinely invested in the relationship. Remember, you may have several mentors throughout your career and so one person doesn’t need to be a perfect fit to be beneficial. You don’t want to miss out on a great mentor because they don’t fit the image you had in your head.

Stay open-minded. Focus on what you want to learn, who do you feel good speaking with, and what energy does someone have. You may be surprised!‍

6. Speak to HR or Learning & Development

If you’re having trouble knowing where to start with finding a mentor, speak to your company! Mentoring is becoming more and more commonplace within organisations, and it’s a fair thing to ask for in order to develop your skills and career aspirations. Your company may have its own mentoring program already, or be able to advise you with where to turn to if they don’t.

Guider is a mentoring software that businesses can use to run internal mentoring programs. Matching mentors and mentees via smart algorithms takes the difficulty of finding a mentor out of your hands. Speak to your organisation to see if this is something they could use.

Guider how it works banner7. Have an informal chat first

So you’ve got a person in mind that you think will be able to help you achieve your goals and progress in your career. Somebody to introduce you to new ideas and ways of thinking, challenge you, and guide you in the right direction.

Bear in mind, you still don’t know at this point if they will be a good mentor. So you don’t want to ask them to be your mentor straight away, because you could get 2 sessions in and realise you don’t get along, or they’re not as knowledgeable as you thought.

Instead, ask them for a coffee (or arrange a casual video call if they’re in a different location). Say you’d love to talk to them about a certain topic or their experience, and have some questions ready. This is your opportunity to figure out if they could be a good mentor for you, as well as impress them so that they’ll say yes when you actually ask them.

TIP: You want to leave this prospective meeting feeling inspired, excited, and potentially even better about yourself. If you didn’t feel good, perhaps they’re not the right person to mentor you. Don’t be so set on finding a mentor that you invest in the wrong relationship.

8. Actually ask them to be your mentor

If you found this meeting beneficial and you’d like this person to mentor you and enter a more formalised agreement / relationship, the only thing left to do is ask them.

It’s the part that people find most daunting, but really it’s the easiest bit. Just reach out and ask them if they’d like to mentor you. Specify the regularity you’re looking for to set expectations, what goals you are working towards, and any challenges you’re facing they could support with.

Remember to explain how you believe they can help you – a bit of ego flattery goes a long way!

Hopefully, if your meeting went well, it should be a resounding yes. People like helping people, generally.‍

9. Commit to the relationship

A good mentoring relationship takes dedication and effort from both parties. If you’ve managed to find a good mentor, make sure you put in the time to make it work!

Don’t always wait for your mentor to initiate meetings or targets, take the reins and make sure you achieve the goals you set out in the very beginning. And don’t forget to thank your mentor for their time. Showing gratitude is a sure-fire way to build a positive relationship with any mentor and best of all, it’s free!

And that’s how to find a great mentor! Good luck

More reading:

How To Be A Good Mentee

How To Run A Productive Mentoring Session

Infographic Source:
Diversity and Inclusion

How Mentoring Women Empowers Their Careers

Diversity in business has been proven to improve innovation and even revenue. And yet, there is still a prominent glass ceiling for many different groups in the workplace.

Women face multiple barriers to access and success at work, including in reaching top level leadership positions. When gender intersects with race and other protected characteristics, this becomes even more prominent.

The world needs more women in leadership roles, so how can mentoring women help us get there?

Looking at the research: Women in leadership

Due to a whole host of gender and societal factors, we know that women are more likely to downplay their abilities than men.

In a series of studies and experiments on the gender gap in self-promotion, women consistently ‘rate their performance less favourably than equally performing men’.

This fact is naturally limiting women in their careers, from behaviour at work, to promotions, to job interviews. A well quoted Hewlett Packard report found that women only apply for a job when they have 100% of the skills and qualifications required, compared with men who apply when they only have 60%.

This statistic doesn’t just come down to confidence differences. Decades of prescribed gender norms and societal expectations around the behaviour of women have resulted in women naturally ‘playing by the rules’ more than men.

Tara Mohr, author of Playing Big: Find Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message, found when studying this report, that ‘while 15% of women said the main reason they didn’t apply was that “I was following the guidelines,” only 8% of men said so’.

And it’s not only women perceiving their own abilities unfavourably, we’re all doing it to successful women subconsciously. When Columbia Business School ran a study into gender bias, they gave students the business case study of Silicon Valley VC Heidi Roizen – apart from on half of the class’ paper, she was called Harold.

While the students rated both Heidi and Harold as equally competent, they all preferred Harold, naming Heidi as selfish and less likeable.

This study painfully demonstrates the subconscious bias and negative preconceptions in society when it comes to successful women in leadership.

Behavioural gender differences, gender bias, and many other historical, biological, and societal factors help to explain why less women ascend to leadership and decision making roles in organisations, but crucially, help us understand how we can change it.

Why we need more women in leadership

Women make up 50% of the population, it therefore makes sense that their opinions are factored equally when it comes to business. Unfortunately, you can’t always rely on what makes sense being true.

Whilst in 2019 the global share of women holding senior management roles is the largest in history, it’s still only 29%.

As well as good old common sense, a breadth of research highlights the benefits of gender diversity for businesses. Diverse groups come with varied points of view and insight, resulting in smarter, well-rounded, innovative and more impactful decision making.

Gender diversity has also proven to increase the bottom line for businesses. A study last year by Boston Consulting Group found that companies with more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenue.

Having a large number of women in leadership roles also inspires and encourages other women within the company to aspire for senior managerial positions. It creates a talent pipeline where women can clearly see progression opportunities for them that are equal to their male colleagues.

It’s when businesses lack this diversity at the top that more women leave – or their aspiration drops – because they don’t see a place for themselves in leadership positions. Not only is this detrimental to employee retention, but also to recruitment.

So we understand why we need more women in leadership – now how can mentoring women help us get there?‍

Women in tech forum white paper banner: The Power of MentoringSupporting career development by mentoring women

Mentoring is one of the most effective ways to enable personal development in organisations, resulting in increased confidence, job satisfaction, and aspiration. (If you’re unfamiliar with all the benefits mentoring can have, check out this list).

Since we’re aware from research that women are falling behind in job applications and struggling with self-promotion – and career mentoring helps support and inspire – it’s an ideal solution. Mentoring women can help pave the way for more women to aspire to leadership roles within their companies.

The principle behind mentoring programs specifically designed for a ‘women in leadership’ purpose, is promoting upward mobility for women through mentorship. Unfortunately, the talent pipeline is traditionally leaky when it comes to letting women through to senior roles. By pairing high potential young women with mentors who can inspire, guide, and support them at crucial stages of their careers, you can strengthen that career pipeline. The goal is for women to see a place for themselves in leadership positions at their company, which is particularly crucial considering 43% of millennials leave their roles within the first two years.

Crucially, if companies can instil this culture of female mentorship now, they’re not only supporting their current women, but also those that will enter their organisation in the future. This is because 89% of those who have been mentored will also go on to mentor others.

Mentoring therefore creates a whole culture of learning, development and aspiration within an organisation, making it an effective long-term solution to women in leadership imbalance.

How Guider can help reach women in leadership goals

At Guider, we tailor internal mentoring programs to meet company diversity and inclusion initiatives, such as our work with LVMH as they aim to reach 50/50 gender balance in leadership roles by 2020.

Our mentoring platform makes setting up a mentoring program easier than ever, matching women with senior mentors in your organisation. This takes the manual matching process (and unavoidable bias) out of human hands to achieve the most impactful results!

Get in touch to find out how we can help!

Benefits of Mentoring 

The Powerful Benefits Of Mentoring: Explained

In both our personal and professional lives, seeking to develop skills, learn new things, and challenge ourselves on a regular basis comes with many rewards and benefits.

That’s why finding or becoming a mentor is such a powerful way to stay on track in your personal development. The benefits of mentoring are wide-ranging. From accelerating self-development, to improving confidence, there’s so much to be gained.

It’s therefore pretty surprising that only 37% of professionals have one, particularly as so many successful people praise and recommend mentorship.

So, if you’re considering mentorship but unsure if it’s the right tool for you, we’re here to change your mind!

What are the benefits of mentoring?

Overall, there are many clear benefits to mentoring. 

The first thing many people think of is the mentee’s personal development. Yet, this isn’t the only thing! 

Mentoring has the power to positively impact everyone involved. It can also support inclusion initiatives, mental health and lead to an increased chance of promotion for both parties

It’s true: the benefits of mentoring are vast.

Remember: There are many different types of mentoring to choose from. Each with its own uses and benefits, meaning you can choose the type that’s right for you.

Mentoring, coaching and sponsorship e-book bannerWhat are the benefits of mentoring to the mentor? 

To break things down into more detail, let’s look at the benefits of mentoring for each person. 

A reason to become a mentor is often the feeling of ‘giving back’. But remember, this isn’t the only positive outcome! 

There are a range of personal development benefits that mentors gain from the experience. This includes:

  • Increased self-confidence
  • Increased self-awareness
  • Leadership skill development
  • Strong communication skills
  • Mastering the art of delivering feedback
  • Asking better questions
  • Becoming a good listener
  • Exposure to new and different perspectives
  • Growing a personal network
  • Increased chance of promotion
  • Increased job satisfaction
  • Supporting another person
  • Paying it forward
  • Learning from someone else
  • Reduced levels of anxiety
  • Promotes continuous learning 

‍Another key benefit of mentoring for mentors is the effect on leadership mentoring has. Acting as a mentor means practising the core skills needed to be a successful manager or team leader and prepares you for senior leadership.

The different types of mentoring can compliment leadership development too. In peer mentoring, for example, both mentoring parties will take turns acting as the mentor. This develops skills in a equal and supportive mentorship.

Reverse mentoring, on the other hand, gives junior employees the chance to have direct 1:1 access with senior leaders. They will act as mentors to leadership, providing vital up-skilling in areas such as digital literacy and cultural competency.‍

What are the benefits of mentoring to the mentee? 

Of course, mentees gain a lot from being mentored but it’s not just career development as people tend to assume. 

Good mentor matching can lead to:

  • Increased self-confidence
  • Increased self-awareness
  • Improved communication skills
  • Better personal network within the business
  • Exposure to new and different perspectives
  • Increased capacity to self-reflect
  • Improved goal-setting skills
  • Learning from other’s experiences
  • Learning to ask good questions
  • Being supported by someone
  • Being advocated for
  • Increased chance of promotion
  • Increased job satisfaction

This infographic breaks down the 4 key benefits of finding a mentoring in more detail: 

Proven benefits of having a mentor inforgraphicInfographic Source:

Remember; as a mentee you will also benefit from finding support and guidance outside of your line management. Widening networks is an important way to grow our confidence and knowledge. 

Through greater access to leaders within your business, mentoring provides you with opportunities to develop that you might not have in your day to day role. This is why it’s so powerful for career progression! 

What are the benefits of mentoring for my organisation?

Let’s look at the full picture. 

Mentoring doesn’t just benefit the mentor and mentee involved. There are many benefits that organisations can reap that are measurable and impactful to your business.

Here are just some of the top benefits:

  • Employee engagement
  • Employee satisfaction
  • Employee happiness
  • Retention rates
  • Promotion rates
  • Attracting talent
  • Improved representation in leadership
  • More inclusive culture
  • Increased productivity
  • Better communication 

Of course, many of these benefits feed into one another. For example, engaged employees mean increased productivity and better retention. 

By tackling these issues through one solution you can also streamline you HR and L&D initiatives. Who doesn’t want to get more value for money?

To dive into some of these mentoring benefits a bit deeper, here is a break down by theme:

Benefits of mentoring for personal development

  • Increased confidence: Whether it’s the ability to share ideas comfortably in meetings, or stand up for yourself in a challenging situation, people with mentors benefit from higher confidence in themselves. Mentors also experience an increase in self-confidence, as their mentee’s success reaffirms their abilities, resulting in a confidence boost.
  • Higher self-awareness: Working out your goals with someone you look up to requires serious self-analysis around strengths, weaknesses, and values. As a result, those who receive mentoring are more self aware than those who don’t – and self awareness is highly beneficial when it comes to career development.
  • Exposure to new ways of thinking: For both mentee and mentor, the mentoring process exposes new ideas and revelatory ways of thinking or problem solving. This can have long lasting effects on both people in the partnership, encouraging innovation.
  • Giving and receiving feedback: Feedback is something we should all want in order to improve, but probably don’t ask for enough. Similarly, managers everywhere struggle with delivering feedback honestly and effectively. Mentoring helps people develop their relationship with feedback in a productive way.‍

Benefits of mentoring for career development

  • Promotions: Those who receive mentoring are promoted five times more often than people who do not have mentors.
  • Job satisfaction: Reaching your goals makes you feel fulfilled and successful. With mentors often helping mentees achieve their career goals, job satisfaction naturally increases. Similarly, those who mentor consider their job more meaningful and therefore experience higher job satisfaction and fulfilment than those who don’t.
  • Personal network: Those with mentors benefit from growing their personal network outside of their colleagues. A mentor can introduce you to a whole range of inspirational and important people that may have an impact on your career later down the line.

Benefits of mentoring for mental health

  • Supporting isolation: People struggling with mental health issues often feel isolated and can experience severe anxiety about both their future and their own abilities. lists mentoring as a method of supporting mental health issues in the workplace, for both the mentor and mentee.
  • Self-confidence: An increase in confidence can positively impact mental health, particularly as mentees feel supported in their decisions and career path. Mentors also experience improved self-esteem and confidence from the act of helping another achieve their goals, resulting in improved mental health.
  • Lower levels of anxiety: Harvard Business Review conducted a study researching the positive effects of mentoring, and found that people who served as mentors experienced lower levels of anxiety, and described their job as more meaningful than those who did not mentor.

Read more in our article: The Positive Impact of Mentoring on Mental Health

Benefits of mentoring for inclusion

  • Exposure to new and different perspectives: Every conversation you have with someone who is from a different background and has a different lived experience, teaches you something. Whether it’s specifically about the business you’re in or about society in general, having the chance to learn and share with someone else in a safe space can be hugely impactful for inclusion.
  • Empathy, self-awareness, and cultural competency: If these conversations are happening at scale across your organisation, there will be an increase in empathy, self-awareness and cultural competency which can help foster a more inclusive workplace.
  • Targeted initiatives that lead to change: Through types of mentoring such as reverse mentoring, organisations can run mentoring programs that are structured around change. In reverse mentoring, senior leadership is mentored by junior colleagues from under-represented or marginalised backgrounds. It can be used to increase cultural competency and to promote inclusion.

‍Benefits of mentoring for businesses

  • Positive company culture: A successful mentoring program fosters a culture of learning, nurturing, and growth. This will filter through the entire organisation and create teams of people who feel satisfied and happy at work.
  • Diversity in leadership: Mentoring considerably helps minority representation at the management level, with many organisations using mentoring to increase gender and ethnic diversity in leadership roles.

    📖 Read more: How To Improve Diversity & Inclusion With Mentoring
  • Knowledge sharing: Mentoring is an effective and low-cost way for senior employees to pass on knowledge of the industry and organisation to younger staff.
  • Employee engagement and retention: With mentees and mentors feeling more satisfied and fulfilled at work than other employees, naturally mentoring has a positive effect of employee engagement and retention.
  • Recruitment: Mentoring programs are an attractive work perk for many people, particularly millennials, who have come to expect mentoring and development opportunities from companies.‍

As you can see, the powerful benefits of mentoring effect everyone involved. 

So, if you don’t have a mentoring program yet, you might want to start one! Check out our guide: How To Start A Mentoring Program

Interested in finding out more about how mentoring software can set your mentoring programs up for success? Book a chat with our team, we’d love to talk to you! 

Customer Stories

Guider Help LVMH Reach 50/50 Gender Balance Goals With Mentoring

There is still a long way to go for gender parity in organisations, particularly across senior leadership roles. Diversity and Inclusion teams are naturally always looking for ways to reduce this disparity, and many have found an effective solution in mentoring.

Mentoring programmes catered specifically for women in leadership have been proven to increase gender diversity in organisations and support more women into senior managerial roles.

LMVH Tackling Gender Inequality With Mentoring

LVMH is an organisation doing just that, with mentoring being one of the ways they’re hoping to reach 50/50 gender balance in key group positions in 2020. This is an incredible goal set by the EllesVMH initiative, and it’s not far from being achieved.

Guider are delighted to be working with EllesVMH on this ambition, creating an impactful mentoring programme with AI-driven matches to empower women across the organisation through our mentoring software.

On Wednesday 13th November, 74 talents from across 16 Maisons of LVMH gathered at The AllBright Mayfair for the launch of the programme.

We heard from Allbright Co-Founder Anna Jones about the origins of the women’s only members club and the work they’re doing to support women in their professional development.

A panel of industry experts then shared their insight around the power of mentoring, networking, and the ongoing fight for increased gender diversity in the workplace.

The Panel:

Nick Ross – CEO and Co-Founder, Guider

Robert Davies – Head of Network Change, Marks and Spencer

Marie-Clare Fenech – Founder, Unicornz

Ana Loback – MD & Partner, Turningpoint Leadership UK

Nora Lee Notzon – CEO, Ellebiz

Chaired by Janine Leccia

An image of a screen with the LVMH, Allbright, AWERO and Guider logos on it from the event.

Ana Loback, with her expertise in psychology, discussed the neurological benefits of mentoring and how it can positively affect our wellbeing. She explained that “when you experience a positive human connection, you physically feel better, and that can affect both your mental health and even your immune system”.

Putting the emphasis on the importance of human connection, Ana went on to discuss how we should seek out these mentoring and networking opportunities as much as possible. “When you hear people say you need to stand out from the crowd, I think it’s more about connecting with the crowd”.

On the topic of confidence, particularly for women in a professional context, Nora advised:

“You’d rather be a fool for 5 minutes than a fool forever – always ask the stupid question and put yourself out there”.

Much like becoming an expert in anything, personal development takes work, and it’s something we need to take responsibility for. “The fun thing about life is that we’re all constantly learning” Nora commented, “but you must take responsibility for your own learning and development, because a mentor isn’t going to do it for you, you need to own it”.

CEO and Co-Founder of Guider Nick Ross also discussed the importance of mentoring from a  business point of view, in terms of the challenge of retaining talented young people. Informing the room that “43% of millennials leave their jobs within the first 2 years”, he stressed the need for organisations to take professional development of their employees far more seriously. “Millennials want mentoring, and companies need to give provide it or they’ll leave”.

Robert Davies, with his 25 years of experience within Marks and Spencers, a traditional and corporate organisation, shared some very interesting insight: “Big organisations have to encourage their people to be braver, otherwise it runs the risk of suppressing them”. Inviting the room to think: “What would you do if you were brave?”

The entire discussion was both insightful and inspiring, and we heard some positive testimonials from both mentors and mentees to close.

Top Takeaways: Mentoring at LVMH

During the reception in the Allbright’s dining and co-working space, the feedback and noticeable excitement from LVMH employees was overwhelmingly positive.

Here are some of our top takeaways from the brilliant women and men at LVMH:

⭐️ “It was great to hear Rob’s comment about bravery, I think so often fear is something that really holds you back and it affects women more than men.”

⭐️ “I’ve only ever done informal mentoring, completely dependent on people in HR deciding who gets to be mentored by who. I’m so excited about this programme being done by technology, with it being smarter I hope it’ll allow more people to be mentored by others who are totally different to them and who they might not meet in their normal career”.

⭐️ “I love the idea of mentoring crossing so many different industries and businesses. As such a large group with different brands there’s so much to learn – it will set us free”

⭐️ “I’m really interested by the idea of reverse mentoring that was discussed on the panel, and think it’s important to think of mentoring as a partnership and be open to learn from each other in the unconventional way, particularly with tech skills”.

Thanks once again to EllesVMH and the Allbright – and we wish everyone at LVMH the best with their new mentoring relationships!

The Guider team: 4 people stand in a row smiling and holding champagne
The Guider team at the LVMH Mentoring launch

Advice for Mentors

How to Run a Successful Mentoring Intro Session With Your Mentee

So you’ve decided to become a mentor! Well done – we need people like you.

Once you’ve been matched with your mentee, by your HR team or through mentoring software, you can start thinking about your first session.

The intro – or ‘chemistry’ – session between a mentor and mentee is crucial, as it will dictate whether the relationship develops, or whether the fit isn’t quite right.

From working with hundreds of mentors here at Guider, we’ve analysed the best way to run a successful intro session with your mentee – here’s a step by step list to get started:

Before the Intro Session:

1. Research your mentee

First thing’s first, read up on your mentee! Take a look at their profile (or questionnaire answers depending how your mentoring programme is run), and familiarise yourself with their background, skills and goals before your intro session.

Take a look at their Linkedin profile too to learn more about their past experience, and note any things you have in common which could be useful for ice breaker conversation.

2. Brush up on your expertise

Take some time to remind yourself of your biggest strengths and achievements. You don’t want to end up giving your autobiography, so prior to your intro session, make sure you’ve reflected on your experience and noted areas you believe you can work on with your mentee.

Remember: this intro session is all about finding alignment and chemistry so you can embark on a mentoring journey together, so it’s best to discuss expertise that is highly relevant to their goals / career desires.

3. Double check the logistics

This may sound obvious, but make sure that you and your mentee know where and when you are meeting for your session (if it’s in person). Or if it’s a video call, check in over email beforehand and test the video link in advance to avoid any technical delays!

Types and uses of workplace mentoring e-book downloadDuring the Intro Session:

1. Ask open questions

Don’t drive straight into the meaty stuff – ease your way into the session by asking open and general questions about your mentee’s background, their education, interests and career to date. This is also a good time to chat about any mutual interests or hobbies you may have learnt about!

Questions like this work well to kick off discussion:

  • “Where did you grow up?”
  • “Could you tell me about your career journey so far?”
  • “When and why did you join the company you’re currently at?”

2. Introduce yourself

Tell your mentee about yourself. Include an overview of your career journey, key achievements, passions and interests, and why you wanted to be a mentor.

Try to link as much as possible to areas where their interest also lies, to find common ground and highlight how you can help them learn and grow.

3. Stress confidentiality

It’s good to remind your mentee that everything they say or discuss is entirely confidential and stays between you two.

This is especially relevant for internal mentoring in organisations – do your best to make your mentee feel at ease and comfortable to open up to you!

4. Discuss their goals

Get an idea about what development areas or goals your mentee wants to achieve, and in what timeframe. Discuss ways you believe you can help them get there, with as many actionable suggestions as possible.

Note: It’s important to be honest at this stage if you don’t feel like you can help them or you don’t think your expertise is relevant to a particular goal.

How To Set Goals (And Actually Achieve Them)

5. Set mutual expectations

Discuss your working style and set your own boundaries. Be open with your mentee by explaining your limitations and how you want to work together. This includes how often you should meet, how long you want the sessions to be, and how you prefer to communicate.

After the Intro Session:

1. Book the next session

We’d recommend comparing calendars at the end of your intro session, then you can follow up with an email invite for the next session afterwards. If you agreed to a regular meeting time that works for both of you, you can even make this calendar invite recurring.

2. Share relevant materials

Remember to send over the links to any relevant articles, events, books or podcast recommendations you may have discussed in your intro session.

This sets the precedent of good communication and following up, showing that you’re dedicated to the relationship and their development.

3. Get connected!

If you haven’t done so already, connect with your mentee on LinkedIn.

The first mentoring session is all about finding chemistry. Getting to know their background, career and personality will help you understand their goals and challenges a lot better.

You may not have too much time to start giving advice, but don’t worry, that will come in proceeding sessions! Don’t rush it. The majority of the intro meeting will be about getting to know each other and seeing how you can work together going forward.

Good luck!

For more expert tips, check out our guides:

How To Be A Great Mentor

Get the Most Out of Mentoring This Year

How to Run a Productive Mentoring Session

How to Find a Great Mentor

How to Be a Good Mentee

15 Essential Mentoring Skills

How to Be a Good Mentor

Skills Development

Personal Development: How to Take Responsibility for it

Personal development has become quite the buzzword in recent years as we’ve all become a bit more aware of our own emotions, skills and strengths.

But what’s caused this hype around personal growth and self-awareness?

Partly we can put it down to the rise of social media, and with it the increase in public conversation and shared experience. What was once private information – privy to the experts of cognitive psychology, business coaching, and behavioural science – is now shared over Twitter and YouTube, and is accessible to us all.

As well as that, it turns out that millennials are hungrier to know themselves than the generation before. Described as the most socially conscious generation since the 1960s, millennials care deeply about their mental health, careers and working lives.

Where in the past, work may have been seen as something you had to do to put food on the table, something distinct from personal life (hence the classic ‘work life balance’ doctrine), a lot of millennials see things differently.

With the expectation to find a job that is fulfilling and inspiring, comes the strong desire to learn and develop in order to feel happy and healthy at work.

Where do you begin with personal development?

It’s one of those terms that’s easy to say but harder to break down into something tangible.

We’re typically not taught to self-reflect, which is why it doesn’t always come naturally. However, it’s important to remember that you are the best placed person to solve your own problems (most of the time) and so personal development is something that needs to be actively worked on.

Find out more about the benefits of mentoring for learning and development with Guider.

Simple personal development strategies…

‍Here are 6 easy ways you can take responsibility for your own personal development:

1. Write things down

This may not sound groundbreaking, but studies have shown that we are 40% more likely to achieve our goals if we write them down.

This figure goes up to 70% if those goals are also shared with a mentor, but more on that later.

Firstly, formulating the jumbled thoughts in your head into clear words on a screen or paper helps you understand and action them better. It is both cathartic and methodical.

Secondly, writing to-do lists and goals down physically holds you accountable to them.

And thirdly, writing down how you are feeling increases your emotional intelligence as you can start to recognise patterns and understand why you are feeling a certain way.

So grab that notepad and kick off your personal development journey.

‍2. Set goals

If you’re not in the habit of setting goals, now’s the time to start (put that notepad to good use).

To set effective goals, you must outline what you want to achieve and where you want to be so you can think of the best way to get there. If you’re having trouble formulating your goals, you can use this model to keep on track.

SMART goals are goals that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Bound

Check out our essential tips to goal setting here!

3. Understand how you work and utilise it

We’re all different. From energy levels to concentration span to methods of learning. What works well for one of us can cause stress and anxiety for another.

A crucial step in personal development is understanding how you work best, which can only happen if you make a conscious effort to analyse your behaviour at work, school or university.

  • What time of day do you feel most productive?
  • In what environment do you feel most creative?
  • When you have an idea, do you prefer working it out on your own before sharing it, or do you have to tell people straight away?

The answers to all of these questions point to methods of working and learning that can help us work smarter once we understand them.

4. Work on your strengths, not  just your weaknesses

When thinking of personal development, it’s easy to default to the need to work on things we’re not good at, such as: ‘getting less distracted’, ‘increasing confidence in meetings’, and ‘planning better’.

But it’s also really important to keep getting better at the things we are good at.

Part of becoming more self aware is identifying your strengths. Try listing what you think you’re good at. If you’re prone to self-deprecating thoughts you might find it difficult, but that’s why it’s even more important to do it!

You can then set goals to get even better and turn your skills into expertise.

This is a really important part of coaching too. So, if you’re struggling to find your strengths, consider speaking to a career coach!

📖 Find out more about the different types of coaching in our guide 📖

5. Find a mentor

Mentoring is another term – like ‘personal development’ – that seems easily said but not as easy to action. But the reason it’s so discussed is because the benefits are endless.

Those with mentors are more likely to increase:

  • Self-confidence
  • Job satisfaction
  • Aspiration
  • Likelihood of promotion
  • Loyalty to company
  • Fulfilment at work

Sounds good right? But how do you find a mentor? The simplest way is to speak to your organisation and find out about any workplace mentoring programs they are running.

You can avoid any bad mentoring experiences by using mentoring software to find the perfect mentoring match!

6. Commit to and invest in your personal development

Like any skill, practice (and effort, dedication and passion) makes perfect. You’re not going to see results unless you commit to your self-development. And you’re not going to commit unless you want to.

Think of ways (that work for you) to ensure you actually put these strategies into practice. Your analysis on the way you work should help you also understand how you learn, which can help you think of ways to make personal development a habit, not a pipe-dream.

Set reminders on your phone, make a personal development plan, take up meditation, start journaling, ask mentors or friends to hold you accountable for goals or actions – start small and find what works for you!

Personal development is an ongoing exercise.

The whole point of it is that it doesn’t end, which is why it’s often so hard to start.

What’s important is to start putting small behaviours into practice that help you understand yourself and get you to where you want to be!‍