• Driving the Partnership

    To make the most of a mentee/mentor relationship, the mentee should drive the connection and the driving force in gaining the most from the opportunity.

    As the learner, the mentee:

    • Drives the partnership and discussions

    • Decides what they want to learn, the goals, and expectations

    • Develops and maintains an action plan, goals, developmental activities, and timeframes

    To gain the most from the relationship, the mentee:

    Must be:
    Take on the responsibility to:
    • Committed to learning

    • Willing to invest time, energy, and effort

    • Open and receptive to feedback

    • Self-motivated

    • Willing to try new approaches and take on new challenges

    • Actively listen

    • Establish the desired goals for the relationship

    • Make effective and efficient use of your mentor’s time

    • Establish open and relevant communication routines

    • Adjust frequency as needed to accommodate schedules


    Advice for the mentee:

    Step 1 - Self Reflect - What Do You Want to Learn?

    Before you embark on learning through the relationship, think carefully about what you want to learn and why?  Before you start a mentor relationship, you should think about:

    • What skills or knowledge do you want to develop or learn?

    • How will this feed into your goals?

    • How will you know when you have successfully achieved your goals?

    Step 2 - Think About Your Goals

    To set yourself up for success and appropriately track your progress, be clear about your goals and expectations. You need to know the path that you would like to take and your specific goals to get there. Consider leveraging SMART goals.


    Your goals must be clear and well-defined. This will help to provide the right direction. Make it as easy as you can to get where you want to go by defining precisely where you want to end up.


    Be precise in your goals, so you can measure your success. If you have a way to measure your success you can celebrate when you have achieved your goals.


    Make sure that it's possible to achieve the goals you set. However, do not set goals that are too easy.  By setting realistic yet challenging goals, you hit the right balance. Stretch goals bring the greatest personal satisfaction.


    Goals should be relevant to the direction you want to take. Keeping your goals aligned with this will keep you focused.


    Your goals must have a deadline. When you are working on a deadline, your sense of urgency increases, and achievement will come that much quicker.


    Step 3 - Reach out to the prospective mentor

    Once you have determined what you want to get out of a mentor relationship, then you’re ready to reach out to prospective mentors. 

    Step 4 - Get to know your Mentor

    Take time to learn about each other.  Talk to each other about your backgrounds, interests, and where you want to learn and develop. Discuss each other’s strengths and challenges; discuss what the learning goals are and agree on how the partnership can help.

    Step 5 - Prepare for your Discussion

    Make the most of every conversation with your mentor by being prepared for your discussions. Think about your goals and the questions you would like to ask. Make a note of these and take them with you to your discussion.

    Step 6 - Discuss your Goals & Agree on Expectations

    Once you have a mentor, work with them to create a plan that includes your goals and a timeline to achieve these goals. Write down the action plan, stick with it, and self-reflect.  Agree on how often you will meet, the best way (in-person/zoom), and the duration of each meeting. Your mentor will share knowledge, experiences, and make recommendations to you on how you might achieve these.  

    How to Cultivate a Growth Mindset?

    • Understand that you can always learn, improve, and get better at anything you set your mind to.

    • Be open to new ideas and pursue change. Don't stay fixed in the "safety" of the status quo.

    • Experiment and take chances. Start small, and build on your success.

    • Don't be discouraged by failure. Pick yourself up and try again

    • When you operate under a growth mindset, you may not see yourself as failing, you'll see yourself as learning instead.


    How to reach out to a mentor: 

    Once you’ve thought through your goals and what you’re seeking in a mentorship, you’re ready to ask someone to mentor you. 

    Here’s how to do it. In your email:

    1. Schedule an initial conversation. Ask your potential mentor if he or she can make time for an initial meeting with you (30 - 60 minutes). You don’t want to be rushed, and you want plenty of time for the other person to ask you questions about your goals, etc.

    2. Clearly describe the guidance you’re seeking (The Ask). This is where that preliminary brainstorming on your part will help you articulate just what you have in mind. Describe what advice or guidance you are seeking and for what purpose. Is it to help you learn a new skill? Are you seeking to move into a different career field?  Think about this and articulate upfront what you are seeking.

    3. Confirm your willingness to do the necessary work and follow through. There’s nothing more frustrating than mentoring someone who doesn’t do the work necessary to take advantage of the advice, so you want to make it clear to your potential mentor that you’re ready to commit the time, energy, and effort to make the most of their counsel (and time).

    4. Acknowledge and respect the individual’s time. Most people who are asked to become mentors are highly successful in their careers, which means they’re also very busy and much in demand. It would help if you acknowledged that reality and made it clear how much you appreciate their consideration of your request. This is also the way to provide a graceful “out,” letting the other person cite an overbooked schedule for declining your request. 

    Additional helpful points: 

    • Since you may be reaching out to someone with whom you have no previous connection,  go for an introduction along with any commonalities, specific interests, or discussion points. Do your research on the person through resources such as LinkedIn. Learn about them, the positions they held, and the companies they worked for. Don’t waste their time during the initial meeting by asking for basic information that could have been researched. 

    • Keep the email short and to the point. You don’t want to burden the potential mentor with a long e-mail that is not clear on the request. 

    • Don’t ask your contact to be a mentor right away. They don’t know you, so it’s important to develop a relationship first before asking them to be a mentor. 

    • If you don’t hear from them, follow up, but don’t hound him or her. Check-in two to three weeks after your initial contact, but after that, you need to assume he or she doesn’t have the time to meet you right now. 

    Email template for initial reach-out

    Dear <enter mentor name>, 

    My name is <your name> and I received your contact through the Dublin City Schools Alumni group. 

    Tell your mentor a little about yourself and what you are looking for in the relationship: 


    I just started work as a <enter position and company> and I’ve been reading about the work you’re doing with Y. I’m interested in building my career in technology and I’d love to hear how you rose from a systems analyst to a technical product manager in five years. 

    Wrap up the email by asking for an initial meet-up and thanking them for their time. 

    Would it be possible for us to meet over coffee or have a quick video chat sometime within the next couple of weeks? Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to hearing back from you. 

    During and after the initial meeting: 

    • Try to connect with the person on a personal level first and get to know them during the first meeting. Don’t jump straight into talking about your goals. 

    • Make sure to send a thank you note summarizing your conversation and your takeaways. This is also a good time to schedule a follow-up in a few weeks. 

    • When following up, make sure to demonstrate progress on your takeaways (whether it’s following up on advice they gave or doing more research) so the mentor sees that you are committed to this relationship. 

    • After three or four meetings, you can develop a natural cadence for how often it is good to meet with your mentor.


    Interested in participating in the program as a mentor, mentee, or pathway resource, please use this Google Form to provide your request to the Dublin Alumni team.