Get the most value out of your mentorship sessions

Corentin Limier

Data Engineer Manager at Castor


For the mentee

Define your goals

Before booking your first mentorship session, take a moment to consider the following:

  • Your short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals
    • Identify the next position or responsibilities you would like to reach and the main obstacles currently preventing you from assuming these responsibilities.
  • The 2 or 3 skills you would like to improve
    • Create a concise and up-to-date list will help you focus and track your progress.

First mentorship session

The first mentorship session is a bit unique because it provides an opportunity to introduce yourself and discuss how you would like to collaborate.

Please take a moment to share your background and then proceed to explain the main goals and skills you have prepared in the previous section.

Next, explain your preferences for running mentorship sessions:

  • How do you prefer to receive feedback?
  • Do you prefer your mentor to provide direct solutions or do you prefer when they ask questions to help you find your own solutions?
  • Are there any particular things you like, such as rules of thumb, book recommendations, role play exercises, or anecdotes from the mentor?
  • Would you prefer to define an action plan with the mentor at the end of the session or would you prefer to define an action plan on your own after the discussion?

Prepare the sessions

I appreciate this straightforward plan:

  • Summarize the last session and review the action plan
  • Highlight recent successes, especially those that contribute to your goals or areas of improvement
  • Discuss any recent challenges you have encountered
  • Select one topic to focus on during the session with your mentor

Give feedbacks

Giving feedback to your mentor can be very helpful for several reasons:

  • It helps to establish a feedback culture between you and your mentor.
  • It allows you to improve your skills in giving feedback, which is often a challenge for mentees.
  • It assists your mentor in improving and adapting their mentoring style.
  • If you feel that you are not getting value from the mentorship sessions after a few sessions, it is natural to consider changing mentors. One should not feel upset about it.

For the mentor

Adapt your style

From my experience, mentors often take a direct approach with mentees and quickly give their opinion on the challenges they share. While this approach may work well for some mentees, others may feel that the problem has been oversimplified due to a lack of context, and they may find the solution to be unsuitable.

"It takes courage to ask a question rather than offer up advice, provide an answer, or unleash a solution. Give another person the opportunity to find their own way, make their own mistakes." (Brené Brown)

Make sure to ask your mentee what they expect from the sessions: actionable advice or questions to guide them towards a solution. Inquire about what they appreciated in their previous mentorship sessions and what proved effective for them.

Prepare the sessions

After the session, you can find resources related to your mentee's challenges and share them. Additionally, you can prepare document templates, such as a guide on how to conduct 1-1 sessions.

Furthermore, taking notes between sessions about your own challenges and solutions that may be relevant to a previous discussion can be very helpful.

Action plan

To ensure that mentorship sessions translate into tangible results, it is important to encourage your mentee to convert discussions into concrete actions. Recommend that they take some time at the end of each session to define an action plan and establish measurable indicators of success. Regularly check in with them to inquire about their progress and whether the actions they took yielded positive outcomes. It is reasonable to expect that not all actions will be implemented, depending on the level of ambition in the action plan. However, it is crucial to emphasize the importance of trying at least some of the identified actions as a means to encourage your mentee to change their habits and make improvements.

A good way to assess if you are helping your mentee is to determine if the action plan you discussed is being implemented or not.

If you sense that the mentee is disregarding the action plan:

  • Inquire if they still believe the action plan is effective and if they have not followed it due to time constraints or fear of change.
  • Request feedback on your sessions.
  • Adjust your approach if necessary.

Step back

Your mentee may be focused on their day-to-day challenges. However, it is important to encourage them to step back and consider how these challenges align with their long-term goals. This will help them track their progress effectively. By identifying the specific areas they want to improve, you can adjust the focus of your discussions or solutions accordingly. Guide them in navigating towards their desired target. Help them understand how their discussions and actions will lead to improvement and help them reach their goals.

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Corentin Limier

Data Engineer Manager at Castor

Leadership DevelopmentCommunicationLeadership TrainingMentorship ProgramsPerformance ReviewsFeedback TechniquesCareer GrowthSkill DevelopmentTraining & MentorshipTeam & Project Management

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