Having a mentor is a privilege. It should not be taken advantage of.
If you want to build a healthy mentorship, here are some things you SHOULDN’T do:
1. Do not approach someone to be your mentor with a one sided agenda.
Some mentors may not expect anything in return for their advice but that’s not something you should assume. Some of the best mentorships are ones where the mentee helps out their mentor as an assistant, or helping hand of sorts. Take Sarah Merion and Lewis Howes as a perfect example of a mutually beneficial mentorship.
2. Do not set unreasonable expectations.
Your mentor has a job and their own life. You can’t always rely on them to be there to help you at the drop of a hat. They’re a great resource but do not become reliant on them. Learn to walk on your own two legs.
3. Do not ask your mentor to do work for you.
This should go without saying. Your mentor can provide support, answers and lessons. They cannot do your work for you.
4. Do not contact your mentor only when you need help.
One of the toughest things about maintaining a healthy mentorship is staying in touch on a regular basis. It can become an issue when the only time you reach out to your mentor is when you need something. While asking for advice or help might be the main interaction you have with your mentor, you should try to communicate on a personal level as well. Have an occasional friendly chat, or to tie in to number 2, ask how you can help them once in a while.
5. Do not force it. A mentorship has to be the right fit. You may want someone to be your mentor, but if it’s not meant to be, it’s not going to work. Find a professional that you can relate to on a professional, and personal level.