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What makes an effective mentee?



Mentoring is regarded by many as a two-way relationship and there is clear evidence to suggest that mentoring is of mutual benefit to mentees and mentors. As a two-way relationship, the following mentee characteristics and competencies have emerged which are known to contribute to a successful mentoring relationship:

  • Understand purpose and context: mentees understand the purpose and context of the mentoring programme; what mentoring is and is not
  • Clear expectations: mentees understand the expectations of the key stakeholders within their given context – organisation, programme, mentor and self
  • Take ownership of the learning: mentees take on responsibility for their own development
  • Openness: a willingness to engage and learn; to be open to exploration, questioning and challenge
  • Organisation: mentees take responsibility for contacting the mentor, arranging the meetings and setting the agenda
  • Enthusiasm and commitment: mentees show a drive for learning, commit to actions and next steps, follow-up on the commitments made
  • Respect: mentees recognise the value of the mentor’s experience, commitment and contribution
  • Self-awareness: mentees understand their own emotions, responses and reactions to situations.

Questions to consider

  • Reflecting on the summary above, what are your strengths and areas for further development?
  • Reflecting on your previous experience of mentoring, either as a mentor or mentee, what key characteristics and competencies were evidenced in the relationship?
  • To what extent are you ready to embark on a mentoring relationship and what will you do next?


To find out more you may wish to consult the following resources: