Being mentored can mean a huge variety of things to different people. This means that it can be daunting, working out how to make the most of your mentoring sessions.
Mentoring is a mentee-led process. That means that, as the person being mentored, it will be up to you to decide what your mentor helps you with.
Your mentor will have been trained to guide you in making a plan for your mentorship. You might also just want to choose a few end goals and start from there – the plan can come as you work. Make sure you talk about these goals with your mentor so that they can help to get you there.
Why have you decided to be mentored?
There is usually something specific that students want to work on when they decide to be mentored. Make sure to prioritise whatever it is that you think you need to work on the most when speaking to your mentor for the first time.
Try to have some idea of what specifically you want to work on. For example, if you think that you struggle with speaking and presentation confidence. What specifically do you want to work on? Presenting from a screen? Speaking to a large audience?
However, if that isn’t true for you, then don’t worry. If you’re not looking to improve on a specific skill but feel you could benefit from mentoring, be honest about this with your mentor. They can help you to find areas that you want to develop in and work from there.
There is a huge range of things that a mentor can help with. But don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to work on too many things at once.
Try coming up with a list of 3-4 things that you want to work on, whether that be speaking skills, tips for revision and study focus or ways of improving self-confidence, and bring these to your first meeting with your mentor.
Bear in mind that your ideas might change as you go through the process. That’s okay and may help you to focus the mentoring relationship on something bigger.
This is the big one. Preparing for your mentoring sessions can really help you to make the most of your time with your mentor.
You don’t have to make pages and pages of notes and ideas before each session. Just a few bullet-pointed notes with what you might like to work on in the session is great. This will make it easier for you both to direct the session, without making it too restricted.
If you’re finding it difficult to prepare, here are some questions you could ask yourself to get started?
- What do I want to have achieved/be able to achieve at the end of this session?
- What is my mentor’s area of expertise/what could they best help me with?
- How can I work on my end goal? – Try breaking your goals down into smaller pieces.
Deciding to take part in mentoring is a great decision that can really help you to achieve your educational and professional goals.
If you’re still unsure, try speaking to others that you know that have been mentored, or head over to our external resources page for some further mentoring advice.