It’s a pretty big deal to ask someone to mentor you so we totally get the anxiety that might come with it. It can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! Here are our top matching tips for mentees:
Don’t feel like you’re imposing
It’s common for mentees to feel like they’re imposing on their mentors but you really shouldn’t. The first thing you should do when looking for a mentor is to remember that everyone in the pool of mentors you’re looking through has volunteered for this program. That means they’ve put their hand up to give their time and expertise and more importantly, they actually want to do this.
Also, contrary to what some may believe, mentors get a lot out of mentoring relationships too! This isn’t just a one-way street with you reaping all of the benefits, so be confident when asking.
Determine what kind of mentor you want & what you’re looking to get out of the relationship
Different people need and want different kinds of support and guidance. Know what kind of mentor you would prefer and what you think would work best for you. A mentor can have the expertise but if their style doesn’t suit your needs, it might not work out.
Knowing this beforehand also means you can communicate this to prospective mentors so they can either accept your match request and maybe see if you can both make some adjustments to accommodate each other’s preferences or decide to decline and maybe even recommend a colleague that they think would suit. For the same reasons, it’s also important to think about what exactly you’re hoping to learn from a prospective mentor.
Personalise your request
So now it’s time to send that request. Apart from displaying some enthusiasm, it’s important that your request is personalised to the mentor you’re reaching out to. Those two points we mentioned earlier? Tell them about those! This will give you the best chance of not just getting a match, but actually getting a good one.
After writing a short introduction, let them know why you’ve chosen to send them a match request. Is it because of their experience? Are they in a field you want to break into? Also, outline what you’re hoping to learn from them. All of this is helpful information for your prospective mentor. Remember to keep it snappy though! You can save the more in-depth discussions for when you meet!
Here's an example of a good match request message:"Hi Rob, my name is Kath and I've been with [company] for just over a year. I've recently been promoted to [role] and this is my first time in a managerial role. I'm currently working on how to improve stakeholder management and see that you have tonnes of experience in this area! I could really use a mentor like you!"
To learn how to request a mentoring match, click here.
What if a prospective mentor declines?
If your request to match with a mentor is rejected, don’t sweat it! Have a look at the reason they declined. Hopefully, they’ve also sent a message to go along with it. It could just be that they don’t have the time to take on another mentee, or they feel that they aren’t the right person for what you’re looking for.
Regardless of the reason, don’t sweat it and don’t feel discouraged. Give the search another go - you’re bound to find your mentoring match soon enough.
And once you find that match, make sure to brush up on How To Be A Great Mentee, fill out the Mentoring Agreement with your new mentor, and check out the First Meeting Checklist.