The word ‘mentee' has nothing to do with mint, mentos or mental!
‘Mentee' is the counterpoint of ‘mentor’. Mentee is the one who receives the wisdom and guidance of a mentor.
A mentor-mentee relationship lies somewhere between that of a friend and that of a teacher. I can be myself and speak my heart out openly with my mentor. Yet, I must never take the mentor for granted. I can learn a lot from the mentor. Yet, it need not be a very formal relationship. We can certainly have loads of fun together, but progress and sincerity must always be a major part of the equation.
In the corporate world, as in the art world, the business world, the politics world, the science world, those who aspire to reach the top, are advised to find mentors for themselves. While I was working at IBM, we were formally trained how to identify, approach, and work with mentors. Finding a mentor is always the mentee's responsibility.
Here are some famous mentor-mentee pairs:
- In his biography, Narendra Modi identities freedom fighter Lakshmanrao Inamdar as his mentor who exposed Modi to the intricacies of politics and leadership.
- Chanakya mentored Chandragupta Maurya to conquer and consolidate a large empire.
- Benjamin Graham was Warren Buffet’s mentor since Warren was 21 years old.
- Retired basketball player Bill Russell says his mother was his greatest mentor.
- Mother Teresa was mentored by Father Michael van der Peet.
- In the Mahabharata, Krishna was Arjun’s mentor.
I too have been blessed with some wonderful mentors at various stages of my life.
- My father has been one my mentors and I have learnt many beautiful life lessons from him.
- In the world of leadership and education, my mentor is Narendra Goidani, the founder of Life School.
- In the world of fitness, Dr Malhar Ganla, who is an Iron Man himself, is my mentor.
- In the world of art, my mother who is a ceramic artist is my mentor.
- In the world of business, I don’t yet have a mentor.
When I want speed AND right direction in my life, having a mentor is absolutely a must.
But the question is this - why should my mentor give me her valuable time?
For that to happen, I must be a GREAT mentee.
Here are a few things that I have done, that have helped me gain the time and attention of my mentors:
- Be PROACTIVE and ask them for help. Don’t be shy. Don’t think they are too busy. Great mentors are always in search of great mentees.
- At the end of a meeting with the mentor, be proactive and set the date for the NEXT MEETING yourself. Don’t wait for them to ask you.
- Takes notes and create an ACTION PLAN after every meeting. Send the action plan to them the same day.
- Report back to them on your PROGRESS on a regular basis (weekly/monthly/quarterly/yearly, based on the nature of the relationship)
- Be very very honest and SINCERE. Don’t be ashamed to face your failures and shortcomings.
In whichever aspect of my life I have done these, I have always had great mentors in my life, and I have certainly had brilliant progress and satisfaction!
My next goal is to create a revolutionary online platform to connect the ambitious and energetic youth of the world who have big dreams in any field of work. I am looking for mentors who have created miracles in the digital world. Do you know anyone?
I promise I will be a GREAT MENTEE!