I have just arrived to Canada, leaving behind a successful career in my former country as an experienced software engineer. I’ve been referred to JVS’s TRIEC Mentoring Partnership program and have been matched with a mentor in my field at a large telecommunication company. I am very excited to meet my mentor and hopefully he will help to guide me in finding work in my field and to start building my career here.
Please can you provide me with some suggestions on how to be an effective mentee.
Signed: How To Be An Effective Mentee
Welcome to Canada! It is great news that you have already been matched with a professional in your field who is working in the local labour market. I cannot think of a better way for you to learn all about the IT business here in Canada, the workplace culture, self-marketing , accreditation, training opportunities, improve your communication skills, and start building your professional network. Your mentor could be a professional contact for life!
Patricia Houghton, the Mentoring Partnership Mentoring Coach at JVS Toronto recommends the following strategies to maximize your relationship with your mentor so that you both can benefit:
1. Make a time commitment.
In your first meeting, speak with your mentor about their preferred times and locations for meetings and means of communication. You should decide on the logistics of the relationship to avoid lost time and momentum in the relationship. Use tools like Outlook to book your mentoring meeting schedule in advance. It’s a great way to organize this professional relationship.
If you cannot meet in person, or have to cancel, then use the phone or emails to communication instead of the face-to-face. It does however help to have as much time in person as possible. And, if you have to cancel, try to do so in advance. Check in regularly with your mentor on your job search progress. This helps keep the mentor motivated and engaged as well as build trust.
2. Set and clarify your goals.
At the beginning, you will have an opportunity to set your mentoring goals in writing. Make sure you are both in agreement on the goals and actions. This is a business and professional relationship. It should be a contract. Each time you check in together, review the goals and their status. Make sure there is movement and that you both understand the goals and have implemented the advice and strategies that were recommended. It’s important that you are both satisfied with the relationship.
3. Take initiative.
The mentor can benefit from the wisdom of experience, skills and expertise that you bring to the table. Although you have a wealth of experience, be sure to keep humble and be open to always strive to learn, grow and improve. Taking initiative as much as possible is very impressive to any mentor. Share what you learn with your mentor especially if there is relevant information and knowledge that they might like to know. Use social media to follow the mentor’s company and profile on Twitter and LinkedIn, if they have one. Join their LinkedIn groups, as well.
4. Get to know the coaching resources.
There is an abundance of resources for mentees and on related topics, such as coaching, advising, consulting and mentoring. All of this is available through your mentor coach, the service agency partner, and the online Mentorship Handbook.
Check-in with your coach on a regular basis to discuss any specific relationship needs to help you achieve your goals. Your mentoring coach can help you identify and access this material and community resources to support the goals. For example, if you have business writing or pronunciation challenges, your coach can refer you to classes on these topics, as well as courses such as JVS Toronto’s occupational-specific Enhanced Language Training for Internationally Trained Individuals.
Best wishes on your new career path in your new country, Mentee. You’re off to a great start!