5 Characteristics of Mentor-able Individuals

May 24, 20192:15 pm
Generic placeholder image

The workforce is changing. Company is not only looking for talents who are ready to take responsibility, but also ready to make a change and be changed to be better. That being said, business organisations today are looking for talents who are “good mentees”. Are you one?

Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, a senior adviser at executive search firm Egon Zehnder, told Brin that for the past decade, employers have put much attention on competence. However, it is no longer sufficient for a company or employer to do so. Hiring based on competencies, oftentimes, indicates that there is a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous environment. It is time for an employer to change their perspective from ‘do they possess the right skills?’ to ‘do they have the potential to learn new ones?’.   

See also: Psychology Today: Understanding Left vs. Right Brain for Employee Training and Development

Another reason to hire trainable individuals is that they are seeking improvement. Employees who are open to progress and improvements are most likely become the greatest asset in an organisation. They have knowledge to boost their career and ability to learn a new lesson which ultimately benefits company’s bottom line.

“A talented employee could be great to have, but a trainable one will be better. Over time, you can teach a trainable employee the skills to become a top performer.” Jeff Ruby

Victoria Black, director of a peer-mentoring and coaching program at Texas State University, stated that there are some principal characteristics of mentor-ability. In order to bring the best mentees in your workforce, you need to know these principles before hiring and/or during training

Mentee understands the value of their time

Carelessness about mentoring time has been a common complaint in pairings that have faltered. So, as a mentee, you should show appreciation to the mentor by arriving on time, replying their text/email within 24 hours, giving notification days before you cancel the mentorship session (unless emergency) and explain why. This is basic but is incredibly valuable for both mentor and mentee.

Mentee clears about what they are looking for from a mentor

Every individual has a different goal in why they look for a mentor. A good mentee should have specific targets. Are you looking for overall career development or for a specific goal such as promotion? Are you looking for a colleague or senior co-worker? Do you want a piece of general advice or particular navigation for your obstacles? The more specific you are, the more likely you receive the guidance you like.

Also, as a mentee, you should expose more of your problem and limitation rather than your best face to prospective mentors. Showing vulnerability is important. When asked a group of mentors about mentees, “Mentors want somebody to be realistic, to be real with them and not sugar-coat their experiences but talk about their flaws in ways that helped them grow,” said Black.  

Mentee is open to input, advice and criticism

Mentorship often means you will hear valuable input, advice, or criticism. “You might not like what you hear all the time. Be ready to receive their feedback, and then decide whether or not you want to take it,” advised Black.

Whether you want to follow or not, you should show respect and behave yourself. Express your gratitude because after all, a mentor has put time and thought into what they told you. Therefore, in person or over email or text, say a simple thank you and briefly/ politely explain your decision. In a healthy partnership, communication is critical, said Black.

Mentee continuously asks themselves question, such as: am I a good mentee?; am I committed to this partnership?; and how can I be a better mentee?

Mentee is open to whatever they can learn from a mentor

Not all partnership is a match. However, you can still gain a valuable lesson from your mentor. They, in any way, can still help you develop be it new information, a new skill, a new perspective, or a new friendship.

Read also: ADDIE Model to Design Retainable Training for Employees