PMI Orange County



Mentoring Benefits for the Mentee

  • Opportunity to work through a current problem in managing a project.
  • Obtain ideas for how to become more effective in applying project management skills and knowledge.
  • Gain more valuable and relevant project management skills and knowledge.
  • Solidify specific skills.
  • Promote a professional relationship.
  • Develop and expand increased competencies and stronger interpersonal skills.
  • Receive advice on how to balance new responsibilities.
  • Expand professional and social networks.

Attributes and Effective Characteristics of a Good Mentee

  • Motivation to Succeed. A good mentee is motivated to succeed. This helps ensure that mentoring isn’t wasted on someone who won’t act on the knowledge he or she has received.
  • Time Management Skills. A good mentee must be sufficiently talented at time management to commit enough time to make mentoring worthwhile.
  • Positive Attitude. This should be self-evident. It is much more fun to mentor positive people than negative ones. Positive people usually produce better and more sustainable results, too.
  • Respect. A good mentee will respect you and appreciate the time you spend in mentoring. They will also respect the value you are providing.
  • Willingness to Learn. A student who is willing to learn will invariably accomplish more than one who isn’t.
  • Honesty. Your mentee should be honest. Anything else is a waste of time.
  • Clear Communication. A good mentee will be able to communicate whether or not they understand what you are teaching them. This makes the entire process much more effective.
  • Confidence. Confidence and self-belief are essential for maximizing performance at any stop on the corporate ladder.
  • Goal-oriented. Effective mentees place a high value on setting and accomplishing goals.
  • Seek Challenges. Effective mentees are not satisfied with the status quo and are vocal about wanting and accepting new challenges.
  • Take Initiative. Effective mentees do not wait for others to notice them or their abilities; they are willing to initiate a positive learning activity.
  • Show Eagerness to Learn. Effective mentees are curious about what they do not know and are able to ask for assistance or resources when faced with uncertain circumstances.
  • Accept Personal Responsibility. Effective mentees do not shift blame, procrastinate or become easily distracted; they readily admit and own failures and shortcomings.
  • Eagerness to learn and a respect and desire to learn from the person selected as the mentor.
  • Seriousness in the relationship.
  • Take the initiative in the relationship, especially in the beginning – be politely insistent about your desire for an active mentor.
  • Flexibility and an understanding of this senior professional’s demanding schedule.
  • Promptness for all appointments.
  • Feedback, even if nothing is requested.
  • Interest in your mentor’s professional journey. Also, acknowledge he or she has a life outside of the professional setting and knowing something about that can help you communicate better.
  • Never forget the time and effort this person is taking to offer you a smoother path on the way to success

Ineffective Characteristics of a Mentee

  • Too Self-Promoting. Ineffective mentees constantly jockey for position and status, or engage in name-dropping, rather than focus on their personal and professional development.
  • Too Busy. Ineffective mentees have too much activity going on in their lives and cannot give the mentoring relationship the proper time and attention required to be successful.
  • Uninterested in Mentor’s Area of Expertise. Ineffective mentees do not show a personal drive to excel in the mentor’s area(s) of mastery, which can make for an ill-fitting relationship.
  • Lack Focus. Ineffective mentees hop from one thing to the next without fully committing to anything.
  • Overly Dependent. Ineffective mentees are overly needy for approval or require constant supervision, which is the job of the supervisor, not the mentor.

Questions for the Mentee: Establishing & Clarifying Goals

  • What are you looking to accomplish? What is the outcome you are looking for?
  • What do you think/feel is holding you back?
  • What would change for you if you accomplished this goal? What if you didn’t?
  • What feedback did you get from your boss/co-workers/team?
  • What are your key strengths? What do you see as your top area for improvement?
  • What do you think the next steps should be?
  • Have you thought about __________?
  • What successes have you had in this area? What great things have happened in your career since we last spoke?
  • What are the pros? What are the cons?
  • Can you give me an example of ______?
  • Does that work for you? Are you comfortable with that?
  • What are your actions items from now until our next meeting?
  • I’m not sure I understand. Can you tell me more about __________?
  • Who can you ask to support you?


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