checkMentoring is one of the best ways to learn, to get feedback, and to take your career to the next level.  Here are ten tips for making the most of your mentoring relationships.

Tip #1
Self-assess.  Ask yourself, “What skills do I need to get where I want to go?”

Tip #2
Identify your learning goals.  Put them in writing.

Tip #3
Decide together how the mentoring relationship will work – frequency and type of contact.

Tip #4
Commit the time.  Don’t give up if the chemistry doesn’t feel right at the first meeting.  Meet a minimum of once per month.  Touch base regularly – by e-mail, phone, in person.

Tip #5
Take time to build trust and communication.  Get to know each other on a personal level.  Discuss your backgrounds, interests, career histories, and perspectives of your organizations.

Tip #6
Keep confidences.  Nothing kills trust in a mentoring relationship faster than a breach of confidence.

Tip #7
Be sensitive to cultural and gender differences.  Do a little homework.  And listen.

Tip #8
Understand and plan for the phases of a mentoring relationship.  Build in time for evaluation and closure.

Tip #9
This is about learning, whether you’re a protégé or a mentor.  Keep a journal.

Tip #10
You don’t need a single mentor who you keep throughout your career.  What you need is a mind-set that allows you to learn from those around you, no matter who they are.  To get ahead, create your own multitalented “board of advisors.”

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