In the September issue of Floral Management, we share best practices in mentoring — how to select the people on your team who are best suited to become mentors, and how mentoring can differ from coaching.
Now, for the other side of the selection coin: Who makes a great mentee? Lois P. Frankel, president of Corporate Coaching International in Pasadena, California, said the best candidates possess at least three of these five characteristics:
- An innate desire to learn for the sake of learning, not just because it’s required for the job;
- The willingness to take risks and do things differently than they’ve always done them;
- Openness to feedback and the ability to internalize it without over-personalizing it;
- Insight into why they act as they do and the ability to see themselves as others see them;
- Humility or the knowledge that there’s always room to grow.
The most successful mentees lack sensitive egos that can get in the way of processing constructive criticism. And the best ones realize the dynamics of mentoring are a two-way street. “The mentee should not only be willing to learn from people who have been there before, but they should also be willing to share their own skills or talents to benefit the mentor,” Richard Avdoian, an employee development consultant in metropolitan St. Louis. “I have mentored many people and I always learn from them.”
Perhaps the most important characteristic is a positive mental attitude. “The great mentoring candidate wants to grow professionally and perform at a higher level,” said Randy Goruk, president of The Randall Wade Group in Scottsdale, Arizona. “The individual must listen well and be willing to change.”
Bonus tip: Assess a mentoring candidate’s potential in the light of their previous response to guidance. “An individual who has been open to coaching will likely be a good mentee,” said Lauran Star, a business consultant based in Bedford, New Hampshire.