Quiz: Are you ready to be a mentor?
If you have a mentor, you know from experience how much his or her insights benefit your career development. And now you might want to pay it forward by becoming a mentor yourself. But are you ready to take on this responsibility? Take this short quiz to find out!
1. Are you always up to date on the latest developments in your field?
A: Yes, it’s a requirement for doing my job well.
B: More or less.
C: I tend to focus more on what interests me than on what’s new.
2. Do you have the time to meet with your mentee on a weekly or bi-weekly basis?
A: Yes — since I consider mentoring a commitment that benefits both parties’ careers, I’ll make sure to set the time aside for my mentee.
B: I’ll try to make time, but if a work situation arises, that takes priority.
C: Between professional and personal commitments, I’m always pressed for time.
3. Are you willing and able to share your knowledge and expertise?
A: Absolutely. I enjoy helping others learn.
B: I don’t mind sharing what I know, but I’m not very good at communicating it to others.
C: I prefer to not give away my expertise for free.
4. Are you willing to discuss your own professional mistakes and regrets?
A: Yes, if that helps the mentee.
B: Is that really necessary?
C: No, I think everybody should learn from their own mistakes.
5. Can you focus totally on what your mentee wants to achieve and advise him or her accordingly?
A: Yes — I’ll even research options or ask contacts for input if necessary.
B: It might be challenging, but I’ll try.
C: I think my mentee should follow in my footsteps.
Interpreting the results
If you’ve answered mainly A, you’re definitely ready to be a mentor. You’re willing to make the time commitment, you’ll focus on your mentee, you’re informed about your field, you’re not afraid to share anything about your own career, and you’re prepared to go the extra mile. In short, whoever you choose as your mentee can benefit greatly from your guidance.
If you’ve answered mainly B, you’re still on the fence regarding the commitment and responsibility involved with being a mentor. You need to be able to make time for your mentee on a regular, consistent basis. In addition, you need to be able to listen carefully and communicate clearly and honestly in order to offer useful, actionable advice. Before becoming a mentor, it might be a good idea to review your own situation carefully to see if you can make the time commitment, and if you can, then work on your communication skills until you feel confident you can offer the kind of mentoring and guidance a mentee needs.
If you’ve answered mainly C, you might want to hold off on becoming a mentor for now because you don’t really have the time or mindset for it. You’ve worked hard to be where you are, and your answers indicate that you could benefit from investing your energy in your own forward movement rather than in helping someone else grow. And there’s nothing wrong with that: The further on you are in your career, the more experience you’ll be able to share with a mentee later.
Mentoring can be an interesting and rewarding endeavor, and one that can result in long-lasting professional relationships. And even if you’re not yet ready to become a mentor right now, keep in mind that this might change over time — who knows, in a year or two, there could be room for a mentee in your professional life.
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