Lessons I learnt from NOT having a mentor

By definition from Cambridge Dictionary a mentor is a person who ‘gives a younger or less experienced person help or advice over a period of time, especially at work or school’.

In my experience the phrase ‘my mentor’, is thrown around far too loosely.

It’s a great privilege to form a relationship with a mentor as this supports, guides and positively influences many vast & varied areas to one’s development. A priceless commodity to say the least.

Importantly, a sound mentor/mentee relationship is mutually beneficial and can often lead to long lasting friendships. For this to be apparent, I truly believe the mentee must define the relationship structure, develop clear purpose and identify measures of success.

Sure, I’ve used the phrase ‘my mentor’ when in fact the person in question is simply a trusted network with expertise in a particular area. It was very much an informal chat over 3 or 4 different occasions.

I had no structure in place, nor clear direction of why and/or how I wanted to learn from this person. The result of this ‘ad-hoc’ relationship was a hindrance to my development making it a very slow burn to transfer my learning and impact in my environment. Furthermore, I only just scratched the surface of the knowledge and experience I could have potentially absorbed from this ‘mentor’.

In an ever competitive world, its paramount we use our own and others time efficiently.  This rings especially true in the case of your mentor who is likely operating at a high level in their field with their own pressing matters to deal with.

Whilst completing my Post Graduate studies in Elite-Athlete Mentoring at the Australian College of Applied Psychology I was able to gain a strong understanding of the research data and practical frameworks to maximize mentor/mentee relationships to their full potential.

I want to share two key frameworks with you to help you ensure a mutually beneficial relationship with your mentor/mentee.

  1. Mentoring Performance Profile

This resource enables both the mentee and mentor to identify key areas and rank the mentee accordingly. Each identified area can then be used as a benchmark for the relationship moving forward. This form of self-reflection and mentor review allows you to map improvements and areas of development across key areas, whilst giving the relationship a clear purpose.

Click here to download the Mentoring Performance Profile

     2.  Mentor Agreement

Though many mentor/mentee relationships are voluntary it’s important we don’t neglect the importance of forming an agreement between the two parties. This clearly outlines the duration, regularity, time commitment and roles, along with other critical factors to help guide the relationship.

Click here to download the Mentor Agreement

I continue to use both of these simple, yet extremely effective resources to maximize the relationship I have with my mentor (s). Having taken the ‘ad-hoc’ approach in the past, I highly recommend that you wrap a clear structure, purpose and measures to reach the full potential of the relationship.

Additionally, Management Mentors.com state that 80% of CEO’s surveyed engaged with a mentor to fast tract their development and 35% of employees who don’t receive regular mentoring plan to look for another role within 12 months.

I’m eager to learn more about your mentee/mentor experiences and other frameworks that have helped you in this powerful development space.

Please comment below to share your thoughts or contact me via www.leadersofevolution.com for a confidential chat.


student leadership, athlete development, Learning Management System

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Jon Shepherd

Away from his ongoing quest of learning to surf, Jon's busy overseeing marketing, sales and business development at Leaders of Evolution. His love for all sports, especially NBA & NCAA basketball ensures he is never far off a live ESPN score up-date.

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