mentor and mentee

How to Receive From a Mentor

Yesterday, I shared the 4 tasks of a mentor. If you are investing your life in a student or anyone in the next generation — these 4 tasks…

1. Expose
2. Explain
3. Exemplify
4. Evaluate

…are the 4 primary tasks I believe mentors should practice.

Today, I’d like to talk about the other side of the coin. How to receive from a mentor. I believe everyone should have a mentor, including mentors. I have 6 people in my life who are mentoring me in specific areas in which I hope to grow this year. I choose them in January of each year, based on them having strengths in those areas. Each one is a specialist.

When you seek to grow as a “mentee” there are 4 jobs to embrace:

1. Explore
Become an explorer. Get in adventure mode. Seek out leaders who model a trait you hope to possess one day. Find leaders who work in possible contexts you might work in one day as well. Come with your pad or laptop and lots of questions. Dig.

2. Experiment
Whatever they suggest, do it if you can. What do you have to lose? On your job, try out roles and tasks to see if your gifts are valuable in that space. Stop being afraid and take some risks. The best way to learn something new is to actually do it.

3. Examine
Once you’ve tried some new arenas and experiences, ask yourself: How did it feel? Natural? Exciting? Uncomfortable? Always stop and reflect after an experience. This makes the experience valuable and maybe even permanently helpful.

4. Expect
After a season of exploring and experimenting, anticipate others to confirm or deny your fit. Be listening to your mentor’s “follow up” comments. Stay open when he or she disagrees with you. They’ve been places you haven’t been. Wisdom comes from listening, not talking.

Let me ask you something. Do you have mentors — intentional mentors — in your life? Have you chosen areas in which you want to grow, and identified someone who is further along than you who could help you grow? May I suggest you find them.

One thought. In January 2011, we will launch a brand new year of online mentoring called: Leadership2Go. I offer a plan for growth and a block of time via video and notes to those seeking to grow as a leader. Check it out if you like:


How to Receive From a Mentor