5 Topics to Bring Up with Your Mentor to Maximize Your Mentorship Experience

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This entry is part 7 of 10 in the series Mentorship Lessons

As I have repeated, mentorship can be a game-changer for your personal and professional growth, because a mentor can provide valuable guidance and support as you navigate your personal or professional journey. To make the most of your mentorship experience, it’s essential to come prepared with specific topics to discuss during your meetings. However, figuring out what to discuss during your mentorship meetings can be daunting. Here are five topics to bring up with your mentor to maximize your mentorship experience:

Career Development

  1. It can be tough to navigate the professional world alone, but your mentor can provide valuable insights and advice on how to develop your career. Discuss your career aspirations, goals, and any challenges you may be facing. You can ask your mentor for feedback on your resume, cover letter, or job applications. Your mentor may also be able to provide guidance on job searching strategies or help you identify potential job opportunities. But what if you don’t know what your career aspirations are yet? Don’t worry, your mentor can help you explore your interests and passions too.

    Even if your mentor is not in the same industry or field, their experience can be useful to you as they have general experience in applying for and getting jobs, interviewing, working with companies, being promoted, managing others, and so much more. In my case, I have worked in multiple industries over the years, and am happy to share how I have thought about my career over the years.

Skill Development

  1. As you work towards your career goals and progress in your career, there may be specific skills or areas of expertise that you need to develop. Discuss these skills with your mentor and ask for their guidance on how to improve. Your mentor may be able to offer resources such as books, courses, or workshops that can help you build your skills. But what if you feel like you’re already good at everything? Your mentor can help you identify blind spots or areas for improvement that you may not have considered.

    Your mentor is likely to have their own approach even if they have not had to develop the specific skill you need to work on. This is a fun one for me personally, because I am always learning, so besides information on specific skills, I can share insight on how I learn and how I approach learning new skills.

Personal Growth

  1. Mentorship is not just about professional development; it can also be an opportunity for personal growth. Discuss any personal challenges or areas for growth with your mentor. They may be able to provide guidance on how to develop a growth mindset, improve your communication skills, or manage stress and anxiety. But what if you’re not comfortable sharing personal information with your mentor? That’s okay too – just focus on the areas where you feel comfortable opening up.

    In my coaching training, they often say “all coaching is life coaching” and I’m going to paraphrase to say that “all professional growth is personal growth.” It is nearly impossible to talk about professional development without getting personal. Conversations with my mentees inevitably end up talking about some area of personal development, because that is often what is needed for their professional development.

Networking

  1. Networking is an essential part of career development, and your mentor may be able to provide valuable connections and introductions. Discuss your networking goals with your mentor, and ask for their advice on how to expand your professional network. Your mentor may be able to introduce you to people in your industry, offer guidance on how to approach networking events, or provide strategies for building meaningful relationships with contacts. But what if you’re an introvert or struggle with social anxiety? Your mentor can help you develop strategies to feel more comfortable and confident when networking.

    I am a certified introvert myself, who also has to overcome a fair amount of shyness, despite how I present in public. That confidence people see is a learned behaviour. So I have shared lots of tips with my mentees around networking and public speaking, for example.

Work-Life Balance

  1. Finding and maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential for your overall well-being and professional success. Discuss your current work-life balance with your mentor and ask for their advice on how to manage your time effectively. Your mentor may be able to offer strategies for prioritizing your workload, setting boundaries, and managing stress. But what if you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day? Your mentor can help you identify time-wasters or unnecessary tasks that are taking up valuable time.

    This is an important one for me. I repeatedly remind my team at work about the importance of balance in their life. So it is with my mentees. I have shared tips on how to take care of themselves mentally and physically, how to make time for exercise and personal projects, how to find new hobbies.

Mentorship is obviously a valuable investment in your personal and professional growth. By coming prepared with specific topics to discuss, you can maximize your mentorship experience and achieve your goals more effectively. But don’t worry if you’re not sure what to discuss with your mentor. Bring up these five topics, and don’t be afraid to explore other areas of discussion as well.

Remember that mentorship is a two-way street, so be sure to actively participate in the relationship and contribute to the conversation. With the right approach, mentorship can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience for both the mentor and the mentee.

Series Navigation<< The Fine Line Between Mentoring, Advising, and Coaching: Understanding the Differences and How to Choose What You Need<< How to Make Mentoring Work Both Ways: Tips for a Successful Mentorship RelationshipWhat to Ask Your Mentor: Questions to Help You Make the Most of their Insights >>
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