By Kelly Carson, Editor

We can feel your excitement. You’ve just returned from the American Hair Loss Council’s HairNow 2023. You found your perfect mentor to help you navigate your career to the next level and beyond.

The big question now? Are you ready to do the work necessary for this relationship?

The mentor-mentee relationship can evolve into a lifelong friendship or devolve into an experience that makes you question everything. However, there are steps that you, as a mentee, can and should take to ensure you are developing a relationship of a lifetime.

The Young Entrepreneurs Council says, “Every entrepreneur can benefit from the advice of a mentor (or two), especially one who has seen some success already and can offer needed perspective. The problem is, we often waste their time — and our own — with meaningless questions that don’t get to the heart of the issues we face.”

It’s often just a matter of how you ask questions. Instead of, “What should I do?” the better question may be, “What would you do if you were me?” the council says on its website.

Writer Lor Hil, who publishes on the website, says in a recent article that a good mentee must “do the work before and after.”

“You need to be consistent and put your best work and creative efforts out into the world if you want to work with great mentors and leaders,” Hil says. “Do this now even if you do not have a mentor yet. That way when you find the right mentor, they can see that you are doing the work and will be more willing to help.

“You will also already have some momentum built up and will know what areas you need the most help to keep moving forward, expand, and grow. No one wants to waste their precious time on someone who is not going to put in the effort. Do the work. Before the mentor and after,” she says.

Importantly, she writes, be teachable. Just because you have your license to practice doesn’t mean you’re the expert. Remember, you are the mentee. Your mentor is the expert.

“Implement what you learn,” Hil says. “Knowledge is only power if you use it. Take whatever you are learning and evaluate how you can use it in your life and business to bring positive change and then take the actions needed to implement the lessons.”

“Being a great mentee means being dedicated to learning and practicing new skills,” as Ashira Prossack writes in an article for Forbes.

“Curiosity will serve you well as a mentee. You should be hungry to learn, improve, and grow. In a way, this relationship is almost entirely focused on you, so take advantage of that,” she said. “Ask thought-provoking questions that lead to discussions. Have a hearty debate over an issue you feel passionate about. Ask questions that only your mentor can answer about their careers and experiences at work.”