How to be an ideal mentee and get the most out of mentorship

Skip to:

One of the best ways to ensure successful settlement in Canada is through mentorship. It can shorten your learning curve by a considerable amount. Your mentor can give you an insider’s view of the field, brief you about credential, licensure or other requirements, and share trade secrets with you. They can also help you network or even open doors to career or volunteer opportunities that may not have been available to you otherwise.

While mentors are expected to provide all these benefits to mentees, it doesn’t mean that they’ll do all the heavy lifting. You, as the mentee must also put in equal effort to make the mentoring relationship work. It is your responsibility to actively participate, follow through with your commitments, and take full responsibility for your development, learning and professional growth.

5 steps to becoming an ideal mentee:

  1. Know your mentor

    Take some time to know your mentor’s background. If you’ve joined a program, you can ask the coordinator or program manager for this kind of information. You can also search online, specifically on LinkedIn, to get an idea of your mentor’s specialization, education, professional experience, and achievements. Knowing your mentor’s credentials and strengths will give you a better idea of how they can assist you.

  2. Define your goals

    What do you hope to achieve as a result of the mentoring relationship? It’s important to map these out clearly before entering into one. Make sure that your goals are SMART (specific, measureable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound). Discuss these goals with your mentor so they’ll know your priorities and also see whether they have enough time, the right resources, and the appropriate skills to support you on your journey.

  3. Be professional

    It’s important to maximize the time you spend with your mentor. To do this, be prepared for every meeting. The more prepared you are, the more you will get out of the mentoring relationship. Always be on time and have a good idea of how you want the session to proceed and the specific things you want to learn.

    Other ways to show your professionalism:

    • Be considerate and respectful. Schedule meetings ahead of time and be flexible in case of schedule changes.
    • Respond to your mentor when they get in touch with you.
    • Follow proper etiquette at meetings. Be engaged and listen actively.
    • Communicate clearly. Open and honest communication is the bedrock of a successful mentoring relationship. Tell your mentor if there are things you don’t understand or if you have questions. It’s perfectly fine to respectfully disagree with your mentor. This can open up an honest discussion where both of you can learn new perspectives.
    • Follow-through on commitments. Remember that both of you are working on YOUR success. You’re the one who will benefit most from acting on the items that you need to fulfill.
  4. Be open to feedback

    Having an open mind and being teachable are crucial when you’re a mentee. Sometimes, we can’t help but become defensive especially when we’re given constructive criticism. You need to keep in mind that your mentor is not out to hurt you but to help you. Remember that feedback makes us grow. The more open we are to it, the more likely we are to incorporate it to improve our work or daily lives.

    Receiving feedback, Dr. Erik Jentges

  5. Be self-directed

    Even the most renowned expert in the field cannot make you successful if you don’t make an effort yourself. Remember that your mentor is not there to do the work for you, they’re there to help you do your work better. They can show you the way, provide support and encouragement, even open doors for you to get you to where you want to go, but ultimately, it is your decision, action and perseverance that will make you succeed.


Sources: How to be a great mentee, Ashira Prossack, Forbes. Accessed May 12, 2022.

Back to top

Community Resources

Need settlement/career or language coaching? English Online has expert e-Volunteer mentors who can share their wisdom and expertise. Get a minimum of 10 hours up to a maximum of 20 hours of personalized sessions. If you’re interested, please contact to join the e-Volunteer program.

Back to top

We'd love to hear from you!

Please login to tell us what you think.

Related Learning Activities

Summer Course

A word cloud relating to summer and community learning.

English Online’s Summer Course is a 9-week course for immigrants to Manitoba. Its purpose is to provide a flexible learning environment… Read more »

Tatiana’s Photos

Article thumbnail fallback


Idiom Set: Making a Difference

Volunteers collecting and sorting recyclables.

In this idioms set you’ll find Canadian idioms relating to elections, the environment and volunteering. Click on each lesson for… Read more »

Back to top

CC BY-NC-SAText of this page is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA, unless otherwise marked. Please attribute to English Online Inc. and link back to this page where possible. For images and videos, check the source for licensing information.