What do you want from a mentor?

“Will you be my mentor?” is a bad way to start a mentor/mentee relationship. Get specific about what you want so they know what they’re agreeing to:

  • How often do you want to meet?
  • Which of the 3 Ps (people, projects, or patterns of working) do you want help with?
  • Are you looking for a long term commitment or something temporary to get you over a hump?
  • What is the first topic you’d bring up?
  • Do you want to be assigned homework?

“I’m starting a new role as a DB tech and I don’t have a lot of experience with postgresql. Will you meet with me for 30 minutes every other week for the next three months to mentor me as I ramp up on the tech?”

That’s a lot more helpful for a potential mentor than “Will you be my mentor?”

(Hat tip to Seraphina and Alex for not immediately telling me “no” when I said I was stealing their ideas for this post.)

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