Getting the Most of a Mentoring Relationship

copyright© Rosie Bank 2012

by Rosie Bank

It has become very popular in our business communities to have a mentor. My mentors have mentors. In fact, the people with whom I am most attracted to train are connected to people whose wisdom overflows all the way down the line. A mentor is someone from whom you can expect honest feedback, constructive criticism, wisdom, encouragement, and help to avoid avoidable mistakes. A coach or mentor is like having someone in your corner. He or she has your back.

Are mentors part of the culture within your industry or profession?  For me, mentoring has shown up in Toastmasters, health coaching, network marketing, speaking, sales, publishing, business development, and waterskiing. In all categories I have received guidance from someone more experienced than I am, and I have led others who were less experienced than I am. I have been on both side of the relationship.

The point of this article is to encourage those of you who are fortunate enough to have a mentor to get the most from that relationship. Here are four tips to getting the most from your mentor.

  • Take complete responsibility. When you have a session with your mentor, bring as much to the table as you can. The more work, growth, creativity, effort you put into the area in which you are being mentored, the more your mentor will be able to guide you. It is not your mentor’s role to fill an empty bucket.
  • Be highly trainable. If your mentor guides you to some tasks that will improve your life, your business, your health, your speaking (or whatever it is that you are working on together) be sure to implement that which you are learning. Set the intention to capitalize on these lessons so that you will have something to show for your time together. Do not let the information disappear through a leaky bucket.
  • Be positive, gracious, and willing. Your attitude when you work with your mentor will set the tone for how far this relationship will go. A crummy attitude is a turn-off to someone who is sincere about helping you get to a higher level in your life and your business. Consider an “attitude of gratitude” when working with your mentor. Do not let your bucket get filled with junk, thus unable to hold the gems that your mentor wishes to give you.
  • Make agreements that you can keep. Be honest with your mentor. Avoid taking on more than you can handle. Be honest in giving and receiving feedback. Don’t just say you will do things that you have no intention of doing. Instead of cherry picking and doing the easy or convenient things your mentor suggests that you do, attempt to be thorough and to tackle the things that will make you stretch. Do not let unfulfilled promised clog up your bucket.

Rosie Bank is a health and business coach, an author and speaker. For more information visit

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