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BusinessTools & ResourcesMentee: The Benefits of Being One, and the Benefits of Having One

November 19, 2018

How often in life have you been at a particularly difficult set of intersections and wondered how easy things would be if you only had someone you could talk to and ask for advice? That was you, craving for a mentor. And in all likelihood, you’ve also had your own Eureka moments in life when an epiphany hit you out of the blue. It’s during times like these that you wish you had someone to share your little bit of wisdom with. That was probably you, craving for a mentee, for someone to help and pass on your insights too.

In truth, we need a mentor and a mentee in life to help keep our balance as we move along life’s path, from one milestone to the next. A little peek into history shows us that all great and successful men had mentors and were mentees. Bill Campbell mentored Steve Jobs, and in turn, Steve Jobs guided Mark Zuckerberg. Warren Buffett was the mentor for Bill Gates. As you can see by now, it’s a patter that repeats pretty often in history.

This just goes to show that no matter how high on the ladder you are, you’re never too successful to have a mentor or be a mentee. Life is, after all, a huge team work, and we need to be there for one another in whatever way we can, whether it means offering a helping hand or some sage advice. But if you’re still not convinced about the importance of being a mentee and a mentor, or if you’re wondering what all of this is, read on to learn more about what a mentee actually means, about why mentees and mentors are important, and about the benefits of being and having one.

What Is a Mentee?

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A mentee is typically a protégé or a student whom a more experienced senior guides and assists. Essentially, the mentee is protected by a more prominent person who shows them the way and helps them pursue their goals in life. Although most people suffer from this misconception, a mentee isn’t a friend of the mentor. Unlike in a friendship, where there always tend to be a bias in favor of the friend, the relationship between a mentor and a mentee should ideally be free of any kind of bias.

The mentee typically already has their own set of friends. This is why it’s important to distinguish a mentor from a friend. Failing to do so can result in unnecessary biases getting in the way of the mentor’s assistance, and in turn, this makes the mentor less capable of guiding the mentee toward their goal.This is only a generic description of a mentee. To understand and identify a mentee, and also to be a good one if you’re seeking some guidance, it helps if you know some of the specific characteristics of a good mentee.

What Are The Characteristics of a Good Mentee?

Being a good mentee requires that you completely trust your mentor and believe that they’re out to shape you into your best form. Here are some characteristics that are essential for anyone aspiring to be a good mentee.

  • Respect and obedience – Obeying your mentor’s instructions is the only way you can allow them to help you reach your goal. Respecting their ideas and methodologies and following their directions obediently and without question can make the whole process of mentorship smoother and easier to handle.
  • Clarity of thought – If you’re seeking a mentor, you need to first be aware of what you’re looking to achieve in life. Without a clear goal, a mentor will not have a target or a destination to guide you to. This just makes the whole exercise of mentorship a futile exercise.
  • Humility and malleability – A good mentee is also humble. Complaining about everything your mentor says or arrogantly arguing and questioning their instructions isn’t a good trait in a mentee. Also, a mentee needs to be malleable and willing to make changes. That’s the only way it’s possible to grow as a person.
  • Acceptance of feedback – An important aspect of being a teachable mentee is accepting and working on the feedback that a mentor offers. It isn’t merely enough to work on the feedback, it’s also necessary to do so in a timely manner. Delayed obedience doesn’t provide the same effective results as timely measures.
  • Curious and communicative – While a good mentee accepts the mentor’s advice completely, it’s also necessary to ask questions and clarify any doubts as and when they arise. Curiosity and open communication with the mentor are also necessary traits in a mentee.
  • Commitment and dedication – Last, complete dedication and commitment to your goal is a mandatory trait if you intend to work with a mentor. You don’t want your mentor to be the one doing all the work. Perseverance and loyalty to your goal are necessary aspects of being a good mentee.

Why Are Mentors and Mentees Important?

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It’s easier to see the importance of mentors because they are most often seen as guiding forces. So, let’s discuss this side of the coin first – the importance of mentors. For anyone taking their first steps in the various facets of life, whether it’s a new career, it’s a new city, or even a new phase of life, like being married or becoming a first-time mother, the significance of having someone to guide them through this new phase cannot be understated. It helps if someone who has already walked the path you’re about to head onto stands by you and helps you along.

As for the necessity of having a mentee, not many people give it the importance it deserves. For one thing, having a mentee helps pass on the insights you have obtained over the course of your life. Also, having a mentee gives you a chance to assist another person who is progressing along the same path as you once did. It helps bring life full circle.

To understand these complexities further, let’s look into the benefits of being a mentee and the benefits of having one.

The Benefits of Being and Having One

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Being a mentee and having a mentee are akin to two sides of the same coin. Fortunately, there are several advantages to being on either side. First, let’s discuss the benefits of being a mentee.

  • Being mentored by a season professional in your field of work is a valuable opportunity for development. Not only does it help you score better professionally, it also gives you some rare insights into the field you’re in, that you otherwise wouldn’t have had access to.
  • Being a mentee exposes you to a new point of view, forcing you to think outside the box and explore new ideas. This is an invaluable asset that can help you hone your skills and grow comprehensively as an all-rounder.
  • As a mentee, you find that your confidence levels are higher than what they used to be when you had nobody to turn to for guidance. You also find that you’re eager to perform better, so your mentor can be proud of you. There’s more scope for motivation, and this encourages you to give your best round the clock.

If you thought being a mentee was beneficial, you’ll be glad to find out that having a mentee is a fruitful pursuit as well. Being a mentor has its own set of advantages too, as we’ll see below.

  • Having a mentee encourages knowledge-sharing. The mentor gets to share and pass on all that they’ve learned, thus making it possible for the best skills to be left behind and passed on from one tier to the next. It is also beneficial to the segment of society that the mentor and the mentee belong to because the organization stands to benefit as well.
  • A mentor is typically a senior person, meaning that in all probability, they have probably accomplished their own goals already. With a mentee, the mentor finds a sense of purpose once more and finds something to work toward after they’ve fulfilled their own missions.
  • Akin to how the mentor opens up new perspectives for the mentee, the mentor also learns to look at things from the perspective of the mentee. Thus, having a mentee exposes the mentor to fresh ideas and approaches. This is beneficial to the mentor because it keeps their brains active and allows them to continue the lifelong process of learning.


Mentorship is most fruitful when the mentor and the mentee both share a passion toward a common goal. The mentor contributes as much to the relationship with a mentee as the person being mentored does. In a sense, it is like a two-way street where each party only reaps as many benefits as they offer to the other party. It may be deemed as unimportant to have a mentee or a mentor, but those among us who have had the good fortune to be either will vouch for the fact that it’s one of the most rewarding relationships you can forge in a lifetime.

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