Advice for Mentees 

Top Mentorship Goals for Mentees in 2023

According to research, setting goals can increase productivity and efficiency by 20-25%. This increase in performance is impressive when you consider how minimal the action taken to achieve this is. 

Many organisations hold training sessions and seminars to teach skills and deal with issues that will help increase employee satisfaction and productivity. However, a study conducted by Reliable Plant showed that 80% of individuals are working without any clear goals in mind—and only 20% set some form of a goal for themselves

This guide will discuss why setting goals is essential, how it can benefit both employees and the company, and how incorporating goals into mentorship programs can yield excellent results.

To learn more, continue reading below! 👇

Why do we set mentorship goals? 

Mentorship without a goal is equivalent to a train without a destination—you keep travelling without reaching your destination. 

Mentorship goals allow the system to understand better what employees want to improve and focus on. Since everyone has different objectives, the goal-setting process should be initiated well before the pairings.

Doing so allows both the mentor and mentee to approach and mould their relationship with a clear path in mind, saving time and increasing the pair’s efficiency. According to research, individuals with concrete goals and a plan to achieve those goals perform and earn ten times more than those who don’t. 

What does a good goal look like? 

Anyone can achieve anything they set their minds to, but many face a plateau as soon as they start their journey. This is likely due to the inflated perception of achieving something when the motivation is high and doesn’t account for the hurdles that we will naturally face.

To avoid this aspect of overestimation and keep things manageable, a protocol is in place to design reasonable goals called the SMART framework. 

SMART framework

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These components combined make the foundation of a goal that will stand the test of time and hardships. 


Instead of having a vague goal, such as “I want to improve my skills”, have a specific goal defining what skills you want to improve on. This will paint a clear picture for you and help your mentor devise a strategy to achieve that. 


A measurable goal means that its progress can be tracked towards total completion. This can be done by setting small milestones and working towards them.

For example: if an employee starts a job as a junior software developer, their goal could be to reach the position of a senior software developer in 2 years or learn at least one new programming language in a year after starting their job.


Individuals can be constricted due to factors affecting their performance and capabilities, such as finances, health, environment, etc.

So goals should be made while considering these factors—making them realistic and attainable. A little foresight goes a long way, as goals that may seem doable on paper might not translate as well in the real world, and putting in continuous effort without seeing any progress can be devastating for an employee’s morale and have the opposite effect on their performance.


You can set any number of goals that can vary from one another, but ensuring that they are relevant to your field and are worthwhile for the other person is just as important. 

For example, a mentee can ask for advice and guidance related to their position and what they need to do to climb the ladder, and the mentor, with their years of experience, will be able to help them achieve that because they have the relevant experience.

Depending on the relationship between the mentor and mentee, goals can also be set outside of work, such as maintaining a work-life balance. But asking for guidance on losing weight is something out of the domain of the established mentorship.


A goal can be realistic, concise, relevant, and achievable, but without a time frame, that goal will not have a sense of urgency and pull an individual to move outside their comfort zone. 

Setting multiple milestones and assigning deadlines to each will create a sense of urgency that the work needs to be done in an x amount of time. In addition, a time-bound goal stimulates the competitive nature of individuals and urges them to do better and be more efficient. 

Mentoring, coaching and sponsorship e-book banner5 mentorship goal examples for mentees

1. Networking

According to a survey—80% of professionals consider networking vital to career growth and success. Networking skills not only help you inside your workplace but also outside of it as you meet new people from different organisations with different experiences and perspectives.

Mentors have plenty of experience and years of networking, and they can introduce their mentees to it and teach them how to connect and familiarise themselves. 

So improving networking skills with the help and guidance of a senior employee can boost your career, and by connecting with different individuals, different opportunities are presented that may not be available in your organisation, or you may not be aware of.  

2. Patience and feedback 

Patience and openness to feedback are essential to survive in your workplace and everyday life. There are bound to be hurdles and areas where one can improve, and moving past that is how one grows and learns in their career.

A mentorship pairing can teach these skills by imparting the knowledge on how to deal with these issues and maintain composure during tough times. In addition, being open to feedback allows employees to better themselves and learn from their mistakes; to do so, an equal amount of patience is required. 

3. Problem-solving

Mentors are there to guide their mentees during difficult times in their careers and provide them with the help and guidance that will enable them to manoeuvre through that. Is there a particular issue with which you’re dealing with? Or maybe you need help picking the best courses to help you progress in your career.  

All these are instances where employing the help of your mentor will show different ways to deal with these ordeals and learn how to do the same whenever another problem arises. 

4. Work-life balance

The mentor and mentee dynamic doesn’t always have to focus solely on workplace issues. Instead, feel free to discuss problems outside of it, such as maintaining a healthy work-life balance. 

Many new hires feel the pressure of a new job and feel like they have to overwork themselves to leave a lasting impression, even at the cost of their personal time. 

Discussing this issue with someone who has been in your place can be highly beneficial as they can teach you how to juggle your job responsibilities and give time to your friends and family. It’s essential to have time to yourself and enjoy what you do; otherwise, there is a high likelihood of experiencing burnout. 

5. Promotion opportunities 

Mentorship can help mentees learn about different opportunities that are present in their workplace that they might not be aware of.

Mentees can set a goal to get promoted quickly at the mentorship’s beginning. This way, the mentor can help them plan a career path that leads to that with minimum hurdles. They can guide them towards different courses or attend seminars inside or outside that organisation that will help increase their chances of securing a higher position.

📖 Learn more about creating an effective career plan here 📖

The verdict 

According to a survey —76% of individuals deem mentors necessary; however, only 37% have a mentor. Mentorship has proven beneficial to the employees and the organisation as it increases satisfaction and productivity, eases the onboarding process and allows employees to learn and grow. But mentoring without good mentorship goals can quickly lose momentum. So using these top tips, remember to set good goals from the start! 

If you’re looking for help setting up a mentorship program, talk to our expert team!

Advice for Mentees 

How to Thank Your Mentor (With Tips, Tricks and Examples)

A well-planned mentorship programme will build a strong company culture that empowers employees and encourages an environment where learning, growth, trust, and open communication take priority. 

Mentorship has proven to improve retention rates, employee satisfaction, and productivity. However, there is one crucial aspect many don’t pay attention to, which might be the most important of them all: 

Thanking your mentor. 

Showing gratitude for all the help and guidance you’ve received and making an effort to let your mentor or mentee know how they have impacted your life for the better.

This simple act strengthens the bond between employees and makes them more than that—it establishes respect for each other as people—and that relationship lasts for years to come. 

So if you want to learn why you should thank your mentorship partner or how or when to show your appreciation—read on! 

The importance of showing gratitude in mentorship

According to a survey by the American Psychological Association (APA)—93% of employees feel more motivated to work and deliver their best if they feel appreciated and recognised. 

Just a simple act of saying thank you or showing your gratitude by getting a token of appreciation or even a cup of coffee can have an immense effect on the working relationship between mentors and mentees, and that contributes to a healthy working environment and company culture. It can also cement the relationship way beyond the mentorship. 

Thank your mentor header imageWhen to thank your mentor or mentee

The best time to thank your mentor or mentee for their efforts and for providing their valuable experiences is whenever you feel like it! It can be before or after your daily or weekly session—or even on a break whenever you see them. 

For example, you could approach them on a lunch break, ask them if they can spare some time, and treat them to something nice while thanking them. 

So there is no one size fits all answer to this—you have to take the initiative and grasp the opportunity whenever it presents itself, or you might even have to make an opportunity but rest assured, your actions to do will not go unappreciated, and you will thank yourself later that you took this step. 

Ways to thank your mentor: From the formal to the fun

1. Thank you letters

Depending on your relationship with your mentor or mentee, thank you letters can be an excellent way to show how much you appreciate them and their guidance in your career. 

You can send a carefully crafted email or take the traditional approach of writing it down on paper and sending it to their address—this will show gratitude and the time and dedication you put towards showing your emotions. 

Example wording for thank you letters

“I am genuinely thankful for the help and guidance you have provided me. I would not be where I am without your support, and I hope you know how impactful you have been in changing the direction of my career for the better. I hope and pray for your health, success, and happiness—once again, thank you!”

2. Gifts of appreciation 

Sometimes, we can’t figure out how to put our feelings into words, and that’s okay. There are other ways to show gratitude, such as giving gifts. They don’t have to be expensive, just well thought-out, something that symbolises or shows the journey you have been through with the other person or something that can serve as a memento. 

Example gifts that won’t break the budget

🎨 Painting or crafts

If you enjoy arts and crafts, why not make something for your mentor? You can gift them a small, handmade token of appreciation that shows the importance of your relationship and how it has impacted your life. A picture is worth a thousand words; keep that in mind and let your creativity flow. 

☕️ Coffee

A very simple gift is taking someone for coffee, tea and a piece of cake. It’s a simple gesture but often appreciated as it gives you time away from the office to talk in a more informal environment. You could also take them out for lunch if you want to make a bigger gesture of thanks, but don’t worry if your budget doesn’t stretch to that!

🎟 Tickets

After spending a lot of time with your mentorship partner, you’re bound to know them pretty well. Inviting them to an event, whether it’s a work related talk or something that you both enjoy outside of the office, is a great way to build your relationship outside of mentorship. 

📎 Office essentials

There are plenty of inexpensive but still thoughtful ways to gift your mentor or mentee with something useful. Maybe a box of paperclips isn’t the right way to go, but a mug, mousepad, neck or lumbar support pillow, or anything else you think they’d appreciate will do the job. All of these are items that they can use daily and will help them in the office while serving as a reminder of you.  

3. Fun ways to say thanks

Showing your appreciation doesn’t always have to be upright and formal. It can be fun and light-hearted, and this change of pace can be very well received from the constant professionalism of everyday office life. 

Examples of fun ways to say thank you

  • Inject some humor into any of the above ideas! For example a mug that says best mentor ever
  • Keep your thank you light, for example: “I commend your resilience to sit with me week after week. Thank you!” 
  • Take them to a fun or unusual event that you think they might enjoy

If you and your mentor have built solid rapport, and have a shared sense of humor, there’s no reason you can’t inject some personality into your thank you!

Mentoring, coaching and sponsorship e-book bannerHow to stay in touch with your mentor

Your mentor or mentee might not be in the same organisation or position you worked in, but that shouldn’t stop you from reaching out. 

Generally, people tend to overthink in these scenarios and keep waiting, but all that is needed is an email, a letter, a voice or video call, or a gift, and your sentiment is conveyed perfectly to the other person. 

You could follow your mentors’ organisational or personal achievements and congratulate them—it’ll be greatly appreciated and serve as an excellent conversation starter. 

Additionally, whenever you have even a small victory in your career—feel free to get in touch and tell them about it and let them know how far you’ve come because they were there to guide you. 

There is no specific time to get in contact with something that positively impacted your career and life. So while getting in touch during the holiday season is fine—there is no reason not to contact them outside of that. 

Everyone loves gifts and getting complimented—it’s human nature and lets the other person know how grateful you are to them. Hopefully, you now better understand why little gestures of appreciation are so important towards building strong and lasting relationships that can help you advance in your career. 

If you want to learn more about mentorship and its impact on an organisation, check out our further reading: 

How to Find a Great Mentor

How to Break Up With Your Mentor

50 Questions to Ask a Mentor

What is a Mentor?

Celebrating LGBTQ+ Mentors in History

Get the Most Out of Your Mentoring Relationship

Advice for Mentees 

How to Break Up With Your Mentor

When you consider that 97% of people with mentors consider the experience to be highly valuable and an asset to their professional and personal development, we can safely conclude that mentoring is a positive thing.

Yet sometimes, a mentee might find themselves needing to end a mentorship sooner than expected. A mis-matched pair, or a misalignment in skillset may mean you want to call time on your mentor. 

This begs the question, how do you break up with a mentor?

In this article, we explore how to end a mentoring relationship, professionally and with tact. As well as the tell-tale signs that your mentorship might need a review. 

When should I end a mentoring relationship?

We can’t tell you this without talking to you personally. This is one of those situations where the answers are specific to you, your goals, and your mentoring relationship, of which no two are alike.

However, we can suggest a few potential reasons why a mentorship may need to end: 

  • Lack of chemistry: Perhaps you and your mentor don’t ‘click’, and you are not getting the best results from your mentoring sessions. This is a valid reason to seek out a different mentor. 
  • You’ve reached your goals: If you have hit the marks you were aiming for, then that’s cause for celebration – it’s always valuable to savour achievements like this. But it could also be a sign that it’s time to plan your final session and say your goodbyes.
  • Life and career changes: Life and careers often change. Perhaps you get promoted, or have a child. This could result in having to reprioritise your work-life balance, meaning that your mentoring sessions need to come to an end.
  • The relationship has soured: As much as we like to keep things positive, sometimes mentorships can go bad. If your mentor is misbehaving or you feel uncomfortable in the relationship, it’s definitely time to call it a day.

mentor-mentee activity - coffee chatWhat happens when a mentoring relationship isn’t working?

Generally, when a mentoring relationship is no longer functioning in the productive manner that it is purposed to, there will be a number of tell-tale signs. They can come from mentee or mentor equally.

If any of these things start to happen it’s worth addressing them head on, as you can resolve issues together. However, if the problem’s persist it may be time to call curtains on your mentorship and find another. 

Tell-tale signs it’s time to call it a day:

  • Lack of preparation: If you or your mentor is showing up to the sessions without the full preparation – whether in the form of missing notes, foregoing new developments, or any other lacking administrative capacity – this is a sign that a party is disengaged. Engagement is vital for mentoring sessions. It’s tough to get far without it.
  • Missing/cancelling sessions: If you find yourself missing and cancelling sessions then this is a sign of disengagement too. Missing the odd session here and there is fine, but if the action repeats continuously then you need to discuss it together, and consider moving on if it doesn’t improve. This, once again, could stem from either party.
  • Early endings: Often, the tendency to end sessions early is a sign that you have achieved a lot already and that you potentially no longer need the sessions. But it’s also the general sign that the motivation is gone, or that it is not reciprocated.

Ultimately, discussing these issues head on is the ideal solution. You can simply ask, “I’ve noticed you’ve been cancelling meetings quite often lately, is there a particular reason for this?”

And you know what? With some communication and compassion, the relationship could be rekindled. But if not, then you’ve reached the heart of the matter and know that it’s time to move on. 

How to end your mentoring relationship on a positive note

If you do decide that the mentorship is no longer working for you and you realise that the time to end your mentoring relationship is nigh, then your next question will naturally be how to end it.

This may feel awkward, but remember, it’s ok for you to assert your needs as the mentee. As long as you are tactful, direct, and communicate your career needs well, you have no cause to worry.

Here are a few considerations to make in regards to ending your mentoring relationship: 

  • Don’t wait around too long: In a situation like this, it’s best not to drag the process out. You may need time to prepare your closing remarks, but not communicating this for weeks serves only to waste time for both mentor and mentee.
  • Say thank you: Make sure you thank your mentor for all of their assistance and advice. This will reinforce the fact that the time was valuable and helped you in your career progression, or other endeavours for which you started the relationship to begin with.
  • Remain in touch: Exchange emails, numbers and what have you so that you can remain in touch. This further ensures the positivity of the relationship, but also adds another notch to your network. Networking is fundamental for career development.
  • Discuss and feedback the relationship: It is also worth discussing the milestones of the relationship and giving each other feedback. This way, you are helping each other out for future endeavours. Plus, it validates the entire process further.

The verdict

Ending a mentoring relationship can be a tough call, especially if you’ve been working together for a while. But if you take all of these tips into account, you are certain to end the relationship in a respectful, tactful manner where the bridge isn’t burned. The best part: if, after some time, you feel that you could benefit from the assistance of your previous mentor, you will be able to do so.

If you need further guidance check out our other resources: 

How to Find a Great Mentor

50 Questions to Ask a Mentor

How to Get the Most Out of Mentorship

How to Run a Productive Mentoring Session

How to Be a Good Mentee

Advice for Mentees 

50 Questions to Ask a Mentor – That Get Results!

There’s a lot to be gained from finding a mentor. From increased confidence to better communication skills, it’s no wonder mentees are promoted x5 more often than those without. 

So, how do you make the most of the experience? Well, as with any learning that’s based on relationship building, it comes down to the questions that you’re asking your mentor

In order to make the most out of mentoring, it’s important to think about what questions you’re asking and why. That’s where we’re here to help!

In this article, we break down how to prepare for mentoring, what a good question looks like, and provide 50 example questions for you to use in your next mentoring session (maybe not all at once!).

Whether your relationship is new and you want to build rapport, or is losing steam after a number of years – we’ve got the questions to ask your mentor that will help you get on track!

How do I prepare for mentoring? 

First, let’s look more broadly at how to prepare for a mentoring session. Mentoring is a truly valuable experience. Luckily, the main thing you need to bring is yourself and an open mind. (Cheesy, we know.) 

If you want to really make a good impression, it helps to prepare before your session. This means thinking about the questions to ask a mentor as well as some other actions to help you get organised. 

Here are the top 3 things we recommend preparing for your mentoring sessions: 

1. Set an agenda 

An agenda for mentoring should outline the topics you want to cover and break down the structure of the sessions. Including your overarching goal in the agenda and any action points agreed upon in sessions, is a great way to stay organised. 

Share this with your mentor beforehand so they have a chance to add their notes and think about what they want to discuss too. 

2. Review your notes 

It’s easy to forget what was discussed in your last session, particularly if you’re meeting monthly. Take time to review your notes before your session. Keeping your conversation fresh in your mind means you’ll be able to get stuck in faster. 

It’s also an important way to make sure any outstanding actions have been taken in between sessions. We all know that life can get in the way! Add a reminder to your calendar to check in on what you need to do ready for your next session. 

3. Check-in with yourself 

Have you had a bad week? Maybe you’re feeling more tired than usual. It’s important to take a moment to self-reflect when working with a mentor.

We all have ebbs and flows. But we need to be mindful of what energy we are bringing into a session. Mentoring should be motivating and energising. Taking a minute to centre yourself and get in the right mindset for your session will help you make the most of the time. 

📖 Find out more about getting ready for mentoring in our guide 📖

Decorative image: a ginger man gives a thumbs up to his mentor on video chatWhat are good questions to ask a mentor? 

Next, it’s important to think about what makes a good question. We all know how to ask questions, but what about asking the right questions? 

In order to discover what questions are right for you, it’s important to consider the type of question you’re asking. Different question types will glean different information. 

Here we break down the different types of questions in more detail: 

1. Open questions 🙌

These tend to be based on who, what, when, where or why and open up the conversation. By this, we mean that they have a range of answers that go way beyond a simple yes or no.

These are your best bet for getting a conversation going and will make up most of the questions you ask in a mentoring relationship. 

Example: “Where do you see yourself in a year’s time?” 

2. Closed questions 🚪

As opposed to open questions, closed questions only need a yes or no answer. While they don’t get a conversation flowing, they are really useful for fact-finding and clarifying answers. 

It’s also good to remember that you can follow up a yes or no with more information. Sometimes explaining your answer can start the conversation, so don’t be afraid to elaborate! 

Example: “Are you Jarrod, my mentor?” “Yes, nice to meet you!”  

3. Hypothetical questions 🧐

Hypothetical questions are used to explore a scenario outside of the current reality. This question type is useful for expanding the conversation through wishful or imaginative thinking. 

They can be used to gain insight into how someone feels or what they want, without being limited by what is currently possible. 

Example: “If you could change one thing in your current role what would it be?” 

4. Feeling questions 👏

A feeling question is an open question that asks the responder to share something about their emotions on a topic. They help the conversation to go deeper and understand what the emotional drive or reaction is to a topic. 

Example: “How do you feel about your promotion?” 

5. Clarifying questions 🤝

These questions can be open or closed, the aim is to avoid confusion and take the fuzziness out of vague or broad statements. By asking someone to restate what they are saying in a different way, you can make sure you understand their meaning before moving on. 

Example: “Was this in the same meeting?” or “What specifically do you mean by X?” 

6. Extension questions 💪

This is when you ask additional questions that add to a previous question or the answer provided. They’re useful for developing critical thinking skills by focussing on a certain topic in more detail.

They’re also useful for showing listening. In mentoring, you want to build trust and show you are genuinely listening and responding thoughtfully – not just asking questions to keep the conversation going. 

Example: “What are the implications of…” or “With hindsight what have you learned” 

7. Learning questions 🧠

You can use learning questions to prompt thinking about past experiences. By reflecting on the past and drawing useful conclusions, you can aid learning and growth.

Example: “What could you do differently next time?” or “Have you been through something similar to this before?”

8. Challenge questions 🏆

A challenge question asks someone to question how they have come to a particular belief or opinion. It’s important when using challenge questions to keep your non-verbal cues relaxed and curious and to think about your tone of voice. 

This question type is great for mentors that want to challenge mentees’ limiting beliefs and encourage curiosity. 

Example: “What has led you to that conclusion?” or “Do you think that other people would see it that way?”

What are good topics to talk about with a mentor? 

There are so many things that you can talk about with your mentor! Many people seek mentoring to help them achieve a specific goal such as building a skill or confidence. 

In any case, the topics you can talk about with a mentor are broad. Here are some examples that we see coming up time and again on Guider’s mentoring platform: 

  • Communication
  • Public speaking
  • Networking
  • Negotiation
  • Confidence building
  • Career direction 
  • Work/life balance 
  • Leadership 
  • Relationship building 
  • Time management 

You can use these topics to steer your conversation and help you set mentoring goals.

📖 Find out more about setting goals in our guide 📖

50 great questions to ask a mentor 

These example questions will help you to get the right information faster and can form an integral part of your preparation for mentoring. 

Here we give you question examples broken down into sections:

Icebreaker questions to ask a mentor

  • What motivated you to become a mentor? 
  • Have you been a mentor before? 
  • Tell me about your career path. How did you get into X role? 
  • What would you say has been your greatest achievement? 
  • Did your career turn out as you’d hoped? 
  • What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your current role? 
  • What challenges have you overcome in your career? 
  • What are some common misconceptions in our industry?

Questions to build rapport 

  • What skills have been the most rewarding to develop? 
  • Would you recommend X training? Why? 
  • How did you develop your engaging public speaking skills? 
  • What do you most enjoy about your role? 
  • Can you think of a time when you did something wrong? What did you learn from it? 
  • Have you ever felt imposter syndrome? If yes, how did you overcome it? 
  • What common mistakes have you seen people make in my role? 
  • What are some of the biggest challenges faced in our industry today?

Questions for developing skills

  • How can I become a better negotiator?
  • What resources would you recommend to support my learning here? 
  • I want to improve my public speaking skills, can you help me work on my presentation? 
  • Can we role-play interview skills? 
  • What skills do you find most important as a senior leader? 
  • I’ve been asked to assemble a team strategy, how do you tackle creating strategies from scratch? 
  • What are some stress management tips that work for you?
  • How can I develop my time management skills? 
  • What advice do you have for building a successful team? 
  • How can I improve my decision-making skills under pressure?
  • What are some strategies for effective delegation? 
  • How can I build a stronger personal brand on social media? 
  • What are the skills you anticipate becoming more important in the future in our industry? 

Questions on managing relationships 

  • What are some techniques you could recommend for motivating my team? 
  • How do I let my manager know I don’t need to be micromanaged? 
  • How can I give feedback to my boss on a project? 
  • Who do I need to get on board with this decision and how? 
  • How can I build relationships with other teams across the business? 
  • What are some strategies for dealing with difficult co-workers? 
  • How can I build a stronger network in my industry?

Feedback questions 

  • Do you have feedback for me on my presentation? 
  • What do you perceive as my greatest strength? 
  • How am I perceived in the business?
  • Is there something I should be doing more of? 
  • How did I handle this situation? What could I have done better? 
  • Am I presenting myself well to senior leadership? 
  • I work hard to be strategic in my decision-making, is that coming across? 
  • How can I stay motivated when faced with setbacks? 
  • I need to deliver difficult feedback in my managee’s appraisal, how would you go about it? 

Questions for following up 

  • Can you send me that resource we talked about? 
  • How do you stay up to date with industry trends? 
  • I really enjoyed our conversation today, can we schedule another session?
  • Next time, can we talk more about X? I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

There are, of course, a million other questions that you can ask in mentoring. Here are just 50 to get you started. And remember to write questions down as you go along and bring them to the next session. 

As your relationship grows, you’ll be able to go deeper and learn from one another. Questions form an important part of this so make sure you stay prepared! 

Do you have burning questions for us? Get in touch

Advice for Mentees 

Get the Most Out of Your Mentoring Relationship This Year

We may not have entered 2021 with the usual vigour of a new year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t set ourselves some personal goals, work on our career development, and look ahead with positivity!

January is National Mentoring Month, which is why it’s the perfect time to focus on your mentoring relationships and what you want to get out of them.

If you’re lucky enough to be in a mentoring relationship already, that is the perfect place to start focusing on your personal development. If you’ve not got round to connecting with a mentor or mentee yet, here’s why you should be making it a top January priority:

Why Mentoring?

Both mentees and mentors experience the following benefits from a good mentoring relationship:

  • Increased self-confidence

Whether you’re sharing your knowledge or being inspired, mentoring sessions have a hugely positive impact on self confidence and assurance.

  • Increased self-awareness

Mentoring involves a lot of self-reflection, on both sides of the relationship. When diving into conversations around strengths, challenges and goals, you naturally learn a lot about yourself. This knowledge is invaluable in all aspects of life, not only your career.

  • Improved mental health

It’s hugely beneficial having somebody to talk to who’s outside of a typical management or friendship structure. Studies have shown that those with mentors experience less stress and anxiety, feel more positive about the future, and less isolated than those without. Similarly, mentors themselves experience a higher sense of meaning in their work, which in turn has a positive impact on their mental health. This is particularly important right now, as many people are suffering from the effects of national lockdown and Covid-19.

  • Leadership skills

Many of the traits of a good leader – communication, empathy, emotional intelligence – can be developed during mentoring sessions. Everything from asking the right questions, to delivering feedback, to learning how another person works and communicates. For anyone managing people or hoping to manage people in the future, consider mentoring a free learning opportunity.

  • Growing your personal network

The power of a good personal network is unquestionable. You never know when you might benefit from knowing a wide range of people. Not only does mentoring introduce you to new people you’d never have the opportunity to meet, your mentor / mentee can also introduce you to people in their network.

mentoring relationship: two women sit opposite each other talking

What next?

We know that all sounds very appealing – but sometimes the hardest step is the first one.

Here’s how you can reap these benefits in 2021 by committing to a mentoring relationship:

If you’re a Guider user…

  • Think about your 2021 goals

Our goals frequently change depending what’s happening in our careers and lives at the time we set them. Your goals and priorities may well have changed since you signed up to Guider. Take a bit of time to reassess what you want to achieve in the next quarter, six months, or year.

  • Reach out to any existing mentors

If you connected with any mentors on the platform last year, reach out to them with a fresh message explaining what you’d like to achieve and how they might be able to support you. Take ownership of the relationship by suggesting a time to meet and some things to discuss. See this as an opportunity to re-engage your mentor – get them to buy into your goals and want to support you!

  • Reach out to some new potential mentors

Perhaps some mentors you reached out to didn’t respond or weren’t a right fit. Don’t let that dishearten you. Make it a new year goal to reach out to some new potential mentors on Guider. Update your development areas and customise your outreach messages. Show your personality and try to explain why you have chosen that particular mentor to support you.

Guider mentoring software: an example mentor profile bio
  • Check your current mentoring requests

If you’re committed to supporting somebody with their career development this year, make sure you check any existing mentoring requests in Guider! It may have been a while since you logged into the platform, if that’s the case there might be mentees waiting to hear from you. Log back in, read their profiles and messages, and ping them a response.

  • Catch up with your mentee

Typically the responsibility of a mentoring relationship lies with the mentee – they’re usually the people who reach out first, book sessions and lead the conversation. However, sometimes life gets in the way (particularly during lockdown) and your mentee might not have reached out for a while. Here’s an occasion you can take the reins and try to reignite the relationship. Kick off the new year right and arrange a catch up with your mentee.

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If you’re not a Guider user…

If you’re here to find out more about getting the most out of mentoring, but your organisation is not using Guider, don’t worry! We also have some top tips for you to get the most out of mentoring in 2021:

Talk to your organisation about mentoring and find out what initiatives they currently offer. HR, Learning & Development, and Talent teams are typically the best people to contact about mentoring.

If you have any questions for Guider, don’t hesitate to get in touch below

Advice for Mentees 

How to Run a Productive Mentoring Session

Mentoring sessions are the meetings between mentor and mentee, where the advice, knowledge sharing, and problem solving all takes place.

These sessions may only take place every month or so, and there’s a lot to discuss. It’s therefore important for mentoring sessions to follow a structure, to ensure they stay productive and valuable for both parties.

A mentoring relationship is a two-way process. While a good mentee is commonly expected to drive the session, it’s important for both people to be aligned on how the meetings are structured. It’s easy to pass the time of mentoring sessions talking about different issues and topics, sharing experiences, and generally getting to know one another better. However, the purpose of mentoring is to facilitate someone’s growth and see their progress. By structuring mentoring sessions, both mentor and mentee are more likely to follow up on actions, feel comfortable raising any issues, and keep the conversation focused!

Guider how it works bannerHow do you structure a mentoring session?

Every mentoring relationship is different, but there will typically be goals set at the beginning that the mentee wants to achieve. The mentoring will be helping them get to where they want to be, while also developing skills such as self-awareness, confidence, and good communication.

In each mentoring session, it’s important that the discussions, challenges, and solutions raised are all contributing to the mentee’s overall goals, to ensure progress is being made. There are simple things both mentor and mentee can do before, during and after they meet to ensure a productive mentoring session.

The day before a mentoring session:

  • Mentee sends over a session agenda including their desired discussion areas, outline of current challenges, key progress updates, and any leftover actions from the last session.
  • If relevant, the mentor can add any topics or points to the agenda and send it back, so that everyone is aware of the key focuses beforehand.

This helps with preparation, prioritisation, and managing expectations. For example, if a mentor sees on the agenda that their mentee has a new challenge since they last met, the mentor can think about it and come ready with ideas, rather than it being raised during the session when there’s already a lot to discuss.

During the mentoring session:

  1. Check in – while the aim of structuring a session is to be as productive as possible, mentoring is ultimately about human connection, so it’s good to allow a bit of time to catch up informally at the beginning of a session! Everyone will feel more comfortable.
  2. Decide on a main focus – based on the discussion areas and challenges the mentee featured on their agenda, both parties can decide on a main focus for the session. This could be outcome based, such as coming up with a plan, or exploration based, such as considering a new approach or reviewing something that hasn’t worked.
  3. Review actions from last session – before the discussion of any new topics, the mentoring pair should review any actions or ‘homework’ from the last session. Note: the mentor should not ‘tell off’ their mentee if they didn’t do something they said they would; mentoring is not a teacher / student or parent / child relationship dynamic. Rather, it should be an open and proactive discussion where they can mutually explore why an action was not completed, and decide together whether it’s still a valuable action. This is also a good time to update each other on any progress, such as: “I spoke with my friend Kate in Business Development and she’d be happy to go for a coffee with you, I think you’ll gain a lot from her experience coming from retail like you”.
  4. Explore challenges – based on the agenda, the pair can then explore the challenges the mentee is currently facing. At this point, the mentor can ensure the conversation is proactive and positive, with a focus on learning as opposed to failure or weakness. It’s important both parties keep in mind the agreed main focus of the session, and link any challenges back to it where possible to stay on track.
  5. Create a plan – off the back of the challenge discussion, it’s likely they’ll have begun to explore a number of solutions. Mentoring sessions can easily turn into hour long brainstorming without following a structure, so in order to be productive, they can then establish a plan that tackles the discussed challenges.
  6. Reflect on progress – near the end of the mentoring session, it’s important to reflect on the progress the mentee has made. This could be through the discussion of key learnings, celebrating wins, and feedback.
  7. Actions for next session – before the session concludes, an actions list should be created of things to do before the next session, which align with the mentee’s goals. The act of doing this makes both mentee and mentor accountable.
  8. Book next session – in order to maintain momentum, it’s always good to book in your next session at the end!

Naturally, every mentoring session will vary, and that’s not a bad thing! But having a structure in place will increase the likelihood of making progress, as well as knowing there’s always a dedicated opportunity to raise certain things.

After the mentoring session:

  • Mentee sends a follow up with the key takeaways from the session, the list of actions, and the details of the next session.
  • Mentor can respond with any relevant information or links to resources that were discussed in the session that may help the mentee.

It’s always good to follow up when the session is still fresh in mind, to avoid dropping the ball on anything that was agreed to.

And that’s how to run a productive mentoring session! Good luck.

Find out more about making mentoring work for you in our other resources: 

How to Find a Great Mentor

15 Essential Mentoring Skills

How to Be a Good Mentor

Run a Successful Intro Session

Get the Most Out of Your Mentoring Relationship

How to Be a Good Mentee

Advice for Mentees 

How to Be a Good Mentee: Guider’s Top Tips

So you’ve got yourself a mentor – congratulations! Mentoring has the power to do wonders for your professional and personal development, from self-confidence to career progression, the benefits are endless. But they don’t come without hard work and dedication to your goals and growth.

A common misconception about mentoring is that your mentor will tell you what to do and drive the sessions. When in fact, the best mentees take responsibility for the relationship and remember that the more they put in, the more they will get out.

From working with thousands of mentees at Guider, we’ve learnt a thing or two about successful mentoring relationships. So here are our top tips on how to be a good mentee…

1. Always come prepared

This is crucial as it reflects your dedication to the mentoring relationship and your personal development. Good mentees will have really considered why they want a mentor, and have an idea of what they’re hoping to gain from it. This means they start the relationship on the right foot, and can keep track of their progress.

Put some time into preparing this before your first session so you’re ready to discuss it articulately when you meet. Present your goals and be clear about what areas you need help with. This is also a good opportunity to bring up any expectations you have about the mentoring process and how it will work. Having this prepared will leave a great first impression, and mean you really hit the ground running.

Being prepared also applies to all future mentoring sessions. Prior to meeting, ensure you’ve put some time aside to prepare discussion topics or questions. This not only shows your mentor that you’re dedicated to making progress, but also ensures the sessions are as productive as possible.

 If you want to be a really good mentee, prepare an agenda. Come up with 2-3 discussion topics or questions that you would like to cover in your mentoring session before you meet. Email this to your mentor in advance to help guide the meeting and give them an expectation of what you’d like to focus on.

Find out more about how to keep your mentoring sessions productive in our guide

2. Ask insightful questions

Good mentees are curious. While it’s tempting to talk about yourself and your challenges for most of the session, remember that you can learn a lot from hearing about others’ experiences. Mastering the art of asking good questions is also a great leadership quality, your mentoring sessions are a perfect time to start honing your communication skills.

Another way you can prepare for a good mentoring session is to think of some insightful questions beforehand. Here are a few examples of questions that we recommend to get you started:

  • “What is the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned, and how is it valuable?”
  • “Can you tell me about a time when you had a difficult boss? How did you handle it?
  • “How did you build the skills of speaking so engagingly in front of others?”
  • “How can I become better at managing people who do not report to me?”
  • “How did you learn to embrace failure?”

Naturally as you’re chatting to your mentor, these questions may come up. But it’s always handy to have a batch of questions to hand that could lead to some insightful conversations and life lessons.

3. Create an action plan (and act on it)

Be proactive! Make sure you are taking notes at every mentoring session so you can create an action plan to hit your goals. Your mentor may help with this, but you should be the one driving it.

Write yourself a list of actions before the end of every session. By running these actions by your mentor, you’re inviting them to hold you accountable (which means they’re more likely to get done).

A Gartner 2006 study found that:

‘Participants are 40% more likely to achieve their goals if they write them down. This increases to 70% if the goals are shared with someone to keep them accountable, such as a mentor.’

This not only helps provide focus for the time in between sessions, but also ensures you don’t forget what you said you’d do. With mentoring being a voluntary relationship alongside our day to day jobs, it can often be de-prioritised and lose momentum. If you’ve told your mentor you’re going to do something, and then you turn up to the next session and haven’t thought about it since the month before, you’re going to make little progress and the relationship could even drop off. Keeping an action list helps you stay on track and moving in the right direction.

If your mentor opens doors for you, make sure you sprint through them. By introducing you to people in their network, they are personally vouching for you and your abilities. Don’t tarnish that by being reactive or slow to respond.

4. Reflect and ask for feedback

At the beginning of every session, reflect on your accomplishments so far and share any learnings with your mentor. There’s nothing more rewarding for a mentor than seeing their advice come into practice and you growing as a result of it, so make sure to keep them in the loop with your progress. It’s also nice to show your appreciation by sending your mentor a thank you message, or getting a coffee if you’re meeting in person!

Another way to be a good mentee is not only being open to feedback, but actively asking for it. Asking for feedback shows a hunger to learn and improve, which is a stand out characteristic of a good mentee.

Try open ended questions on a specific topic, such as:

  • “Which parts of my approach to teamwork concern you the most?”
  • “What do you think is working and not working in my pitch?”
  • “What could I do differently that would have the greatest impact on my success?”

Remember to not take negative feedback personally. Rather, see it as a personal challenge to improve!

5. Be the driver and always follow up

Your mentoring relationship is about you achieving your goals, so don’t expect your mentor to drive it. You need to take responsibility for your development and you’ll get out what you put in!

Make sure to always log notes from your meetings and follow up immediately after with a summary of the session, a list of your actions and any ways they can support you. As well as this, always lead on booking in your next session with your mentor.

Never end a mentoring session without booking in the next one to keep up momentum.


⭐️  Some other tips to keep in mind to be a good mentee: ⭐️

  • A mentor is not a therapist – try to avoid conversations that veer away from your goals or objectives.
  • Common traits of successful mentees include being: enthusiastic, energetic, organised, self-aware and focused.
  • Appreciate your mentor’s time! Avoid sending emails with long winding questions, and instead, frame questions in a way that makes it easy for them to provide feedback on.
  • Everything you say is entirely confidential, and your mentor knows that too! Try and be as open as possible, as trust between you and your mentor will need to be developed and nurtured.

Good luck!

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: