5 Steps Setting Mentor Expectations

In this lesson, you will: 

Five Steps


As you can see, mentors can have many benefits for you professionally. However, it's important that you come into the mentor relationship prepared and ready to get the most out of it. Read on to determine what action steps you should take in order to have the most successful mentor relationship. 

1. Respect your mentor...

Just like you, your mentor has his or her own life, responsibilities, and time commitments. Realize that information you want from him or her will not be available the instant you want it, so be sure to be patient. Likewise, don't take your relationship as license to unfairly take from them. Use their words, ideas and work to inspire you to your own. Your mentor is investing in you - be respectful of them.

2. ...But don't worship them.

As we said earlier, it's good to have a healthy amount of respect for your mentor. However, be careful that you don't begin to idolize your mentor. You need to believe that you, too, can one day be where your mentor currently is - and that can only happen if you see them as a role model, not as an idol.

3. Don't be afraid to be yourself.

A mentor will be best able to help you if you are honest about what you want and who you are. Be prepared to be candid and open about your goals, your strengths, your struggles and your weaknesses. Mentors can only help you if they know you really are - not who you one day hope to be or wish you were.

You also don't want to imitate who they are or do everything exactly the same way they did. You want to emulate their success, not replicate the path they took to get there.

4. Be open to feedback.

Mentors are there to help you. This may mean that there are times when they will have feedback that points out things you might need to do better. Remember: feedback is there to help you become better at something, so make sure to try and be open to it. In the words of former Coach Lou Holtz: "[Feedback] is like medicine, it is always given to make you better."

5. Maintain reasonable expectations.

Remember that your mentor there is to guide you and assist you in accomplishing your goal - not to do the work for you. You will get the most out of your mentor relationship by putting in some hard work first, accomplishing as much as you can on your own, and only going to your mentor when you can go no further on your own. At that point, your mentor will be able to help push all of your hard work to the next level.

Also, take note that mentors are there to fulfill a certain role in your life - not every role you might be needing. They are there to help you develop professionally. Focus your energy and expectations on what your mentor can provide for you.

Review Question

Realize that your mentor has his or her own life and responsibilities. With this in mind, you should make sure to  your mentor. However, you should also take care not to your mentor. You want to see them as a role model, not an idol. It's also important to . Mentors need to know who you truly are in order to be able to really help and guide you in your path. With this is mind, you must be . Finally, it's important to remember that your mentor is there to guide and help you in accomplishing your goal - not to do all the hard work for you. You must .

Baobab Topic Pages

The best way to get to know mentors is to be active on the Transformative Leadership skill and mindset topic pages. Use the following links to navigate to the pages on which you most want to focus. Once you’re there, post a comment and interact with the mentors, keeping in mind these tips that you've learned.

The pages are linked below: 

Mindsets Skills
Courage Self-Awareness
Empathy  Creativity 
Vision  Adaptability 
Integrity  Collaboration 
Resilience  Communication 
Humility  Ethical Action 
Inclusiveness  Professional Skills 
Curiosity  Critical Thinking