|Source: Max Pixel|
Diane Brink, IBM's former Chief Marketing Officer for Global Technology Services, shared her thougths recently with Kellogg Insights regarding the mentor-protégé relationship. How do you make this relationships as mutually beneficial as possible? She offers a number of good recommendations in an article titled, "5 Ways to Get the Most out of a Mentor–Protégé Relationship." My favorite suggestion is: "Let the Protégé Lead." Here is Brink's advice, as summarized by Kellogg Insights:
For protégés, commitment means more than sitting back and nodding in agreement with every suggestion the mentor makes. Mentees need to own the relationship. Brink describes a protégé who would always send an agenda for their mentoring meeting a week beforehand: “I thought ‘Oh, my gosh. This guy is really thinking about not only how he can use my time effectively, but how he can really move the relationship to something that is going to be beneficial for him.’ That was pretty impressive.”
In any mentoring situation, it should be the protégé who sets the priorities. Brink likes to remind mentees that they really drive their own careers. “You’re going to have a lot of people providing their point of view on what you should be doing with your career,” she says, “and it’s not their decision.” Agreeing to make the mentee’s agenda a priority keeps him or her from being swayed towards a career path he or she may not be interested in following. And it takes pressure off the mentor to act as an all-knowing guru.