Maximising the Mentor/Mentee Relationship

“Get a mentor” is a very common piece of advice one would get some years back when one wants to get into a particular career or move up the ladder in their chosen field. Are we still mentoring? What is the value of mentorship in 2023? How does one maintain a successful and healthy mentor/mentee relationship?

“A mentor is a person who can support, advise and guide you. They typically take the time to get to know you and the challenges you’re facing and then use their understanding and personal experience to help you improve.”

In these days of high numbers of youth unemployment in the country, mentorship is surely needed now more than ever. It is a fantastic way to foster your personal development and to maximise continuous learning. To have someone that has walked the path you are trying to walk guide you can be priceless A mentor can provide some guidance on things you can do while seeking employment, courses you can take to boost your CV and perhaps even check if there could be issues on your CV that may have blindsided you. Who doesn’t need that?

What I am observing though is that unfortunately, it feels like no one wants to provide mentorship anymore. It’s been a while since I heard anyone speak of a having a mentor, particularly amongst the younger generations. I will put myself on the firing and state why I shy away from mentoring. As an anchor on radio with close to 10 years of experience, I’ve been put off by people that have approached me to be their mentor because almost all the time, it honestly seems they actually want to be part of the “glamourous side” of being in the media industry and for whatever reason, sport seems to be a stepping stone. I’ve had many instances where I have someone shadowing me on radio and they are more concerned about celebrities and their lifestyle over learning how to write a bulletin. To sum it up, maybe mentees need to be clear about what they want to do in their career and then approach a prospective mentor who is in line with your goals.

The way our economy is set up, one salary is not enough, most people need more than one job which means we are all busy. Mentorship requires time, so as a person looking to be mentored, when someone does give you their time, make it their worthwhile, plan in advance what you would like to bring to their attention and make use of the online platforms such as Zooms and Microsoft Teams. Be proactive and see how you can meet your mentor halfway. It is always good to maintain a schedule.

Let’s explore other ways you can get the most out of your mentor-mentee relationship:

1. Keep communications open

Mentor: Help your mentee set realistic expectations.

Mentee: Be upfront. Let your mentor know what your goals are and what you hope to take away from the program.

2. Offer support

Mentor: Encourage communication and participation. Help create a solid plan of action.

Mentee: Remember that your mentor is there for you, but is only a guide.

3. Define expectations

Mentor: Help set up a system to measure achievement.

Mentee:  Review your goals. Make sure your mentor knows what to expect from you.

4. Maintain contact

Mentor: Respond to your e-mails. Answer questions and provide advice, resources and guidance when appropriate.

Mentee: Be polite and courteous. Keep up with your e-mails and ask questions.

5. Be honest

Mentor: Be truthful in your evaluations, but also be tactful.

Mentee: Let your mentor know if you don’t understand something or have a differing opinion.

6. Actively participate

Mentor: Engage in your own learning while you are mentoring, collaborate on projects, ask questions and experiment.

Mentee: Listen. Ask if you can observe your mentor’s practice if he/she is local.

7. Be innovative and creative

Mentor: Share your ideas, give advice and be a resource for new ideas.

Mentee: Offer ideas on what activities and exercises you can do together.


Having a mentor doesn’t mean handing the wheel over to them. Being a mentee also carries responsibility and commitment.

Here are ways to make sure you make the most of the opportunity of having a mentor:

1. Be coachable

To be coachable means letting the mentor take the lead and being open and willing to listen to their insights.

It also means being highly committed to your own personal growth and professional development.

2. Be clear on your goals

You may not know exactly what your professional goals are before starting the mentor-mentee relationship. But you should know what your goals for the mentor-mentee relationship are.

Knowing your objectives also helps the mentor decide on exactly which guidance or advice to give you and what approach to take.

4. Ask for feedback

A good mentor will provide plenty of feedback, but if you need more, you should never be afraid to ask.

It can be uncomfortable to receive constructive criticism. But it’s fundamental for your professional growth.

5. Respect the mentor’s time

The mentor is volunteering part of their precious time to help you. Avoid being late for meetings and keep explanations as concise as possible.

You should also respect meeting times and avoid asking for last-minute changes, as well as replying to messages or calls promptly.


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