How to Prepare for a Mentor Session

“I very much appreciate when someone asks insightful questions such as ‘I noticed you invested in these three companies. I have been thinking a lot about that space and have looked at several companies involved in that area. Can you tell me more about what you have learnt since you made those investments?’

This indicates to me that the person is thoughtful, has done their homework, and is ready to engage in a meaningful conversation.”

Janet Bannister

The mentors we work with at MindFrame Connect are clear; the best mentees are those who come prepared for each session with clear goals, having done their research, and who provide regular follow-up. Mentees are responsible to drive the relationship where it needs to go. Here are some best practices from the entrepreneurship ecosystem to support your preparation for mentorship sessions.

Before Setting Your Agenda

  1. Define your goals and purposes: Sit with yourself and write out what you are looking for from this specific mentor. Do you want feedback on a specific issue? Do you want to hear their experience scaling their business or hiring their team? Are you interested in how they generate work/life balance?
  2. Identify your exact needs and areas of concern as a founder and relate them to this specific mentor
  3. Goals should be both short- and long-term, and should be revisited periodically with the mentor to assess progress

  4. Research your mentor: After identifying your goals, research your mentor’s background to connect these goals to their business or life experiences

  5. Identify your expectations: What are you looking for from your mentor? Once you have clarity on the level of engagement, time, and commitment you’d like from your mentor, you can work with them to see what is reasonable within their availability.

Setting Your Agenda

Clarify your ask(s): Know what your top priorities are for your session, what you would like from your mentor, and how you plan to move forward

Time block: Give the most “air time” to the questions or tasks that need to be explored in detail and conversation. If new topics arise in during the meeting, table them for extra time at the end or a future session.

The mentee is responsible for confirming the “where, when, and how” of the meeting

  • Send the date, time, duration, and location in advance of the session
  • Set up Zoom calls or book tables when needed

A sample meeting agenda could look like:

Check-in: Space for a personal update or news

  1. Topic #1: Current Status, Next Steps/Actions, Specific Questions for Mentor
  2. Topic #2: Current Status, Next Steps/Actions, Specific Questions for Mentor
  3. Financial Review
  4. Long-term Goal Updates & Review
  5. Review and Identify Follow-Up Items

Ask for periodic feedback from your mentor on how you are organizing your agendas and the mentorship logistics

Following Up and Building a Long-term Mentorship

Types of follow-ups to provide your mentor:

  1. Post-Meeting: Recap your meetings and any identified action items for both parties
  2. Task-Specific: As action items, connections, or tasks initiated by your mentor are accomplished, inform them of your progress and any insights or outcomes of the task
  3. Long-term: Periodically review your developmental goals as a founder with your mentor and assess your progress, or where you need more support
  4. Appreciation: Ensure you offer thanks for their time, support, and insights.

Take Advice and “Run through opened doors”

If your mentor has provided a network connection, action item, or task, act upon it quickly and effectively and inform your mentor about the results. When mentors provide access and tools, run with them.

If the advice, action, or connection does not work out as expected, let your mentor know this as well. The more transparent you are about what is helpful, the more effectively your mentor can offer support.

Show Gratitude and Share Feedback. Throughout the relationship, make sure your mentor knows that you value their time, insight, and dedication to your growth. Feedback about your mentor’s impact is a great way to add value for them, and a helpful way for you to assess what you are looking for in your mentors.

Adding Further Value. Share resources or articles on a topic you know your mentor is interested in. Attend their talks or events. Find ways to add value back to them and authentically build the relationship based on shared interests and causes.

Consider how you want to be remembered. Dedication to personal growth is what makes a great mentee.”

—- Eugene Bomba


Preparing for your First Mentoring Session MindFrame Connect x Quin Sandler (CEO of Plantiga)

Mentee Competencies MindFrame Connect

Best Practices for Mentees MindFrame Connect x The Roy Group

12 Keys to Being a SuperMentee Inc.

10 Quick Ideas for Becoming a More Effective Mentee Educause

Are You Mentorable? TedBusiness

Beginning your Mentee Journey MindFrame Connect x Quin Sandler (CEO of Plantiga)

Menteeship: Getting Started MindFrame Connect

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