If you’re new to Canada and beginning a mentoring relationship with an established professional in your desired field here, it’s important to be aware of the dos and don’ts of mentoring in the Canadian landscape. It helps to remember that as a mentee, you control how your relationship with your mentor blooms and the results it brings.
What should you expect from your mentor?
Your mentor will be somebody who would guide you from their personal experience as well as brainstorm the answers to questions and situations together with you. However, they may not be available every time you encounter a problem and so, following a structured engagement plan to discuss your goals and create a roadmap for success is key.
On average, for different mentorship programs, a mentor and mentee spend around 18 hours together over a period of two to three months. Be mindful and respectful of the time you spend with your mentor.
If you’re an immigrant, you don’t necessarily need to look for a mentor who is also an immigrant. The primary qualities the individual must possess are experience in their professional field and an understanding of the labour market, Canadian culture and workplace so they can share their learnings with you.
How can you make the most of a mentoring experience?
- As a mentee, you would often seek guidance from your mentor but expecting them to solve all your problems is unhealthy for the relationship. Take initiative, chart out the work that you need to do and make sincere efforts to meet the targets you set together.
- While you are in the driver’s seat as a mentee and steering where your mentoring relationship goes, it is also important that you are coachable and ready to listen. Be patient with your mentor and spend adequate time covering all objectives even though you might feel like you’re ready to move on to the next one on your list.
- Open up, ask questions, and discuss your anxieties and challenges but don’t be overcritical of the mistakes you make in the process.
- Setting boundaries for the relationship during mentoring hours and beyond is also helpful. Some mentors and mentees decide to stay in touch or become friends with time, however, some others may like to keep the relationship strictly professional with fewer touchpoints to only discuss what’s useful for the mentee’s career journey. Maintain a two-way dialogue to decipher what works for you and your mentor.
- Lastly, if a mentoring relationship feels unproductive, end it respectfully. Continuing it for the sake of completing mentoring hours or because you fear upsetting your mentor will not do you any good.
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