Your mentor is very busy. The time they invest in you will always be competing for their time with friends, family and work. What can you offer that will make them WANT to five those things up for you? Even the most altruistic of mentors has limited time so make it worth their while.
1. Trade services. What do you have that could be of service to them? Do you have a particular skill set, experience or knowledge expertise on an area that could be of use to them? If you are younger than your mentor you may be more knowledgeable about technology and could provide tips on more efficient ways of doing task that your mentor dislikes doing. Tell them about effective ways to use social media to accomplish their goals or send them articles on topics you know they are interested in. Teach them how to set up Google Alerts for their topics of interest.
2. Provide insight. If you are more junior in terms of experience or age to your mentor, perhaps they would be appreciative of the thoughts and experiences coming from different areas of their organizations. Leaders in an organization may not have time for interaction with their organizations frontline. Provide an information pipeline to your mentor with helpful feedback and information from the frontlines.
3. Use your network. How could your network be helpful to them? Identify people and resources that would be helpful to your mentor.
4. Third party trade. Help someone else who can help your mentor. If you can’t provide a direct trade of services to your mentor find a third party who can provide a necessary service to your mentor and do something for them. As the three of you trade services you will begin to form a powerful network.
5. Pay it forward to someone they care about. Find someone in their life with an issue you can resolve and offer your services to them. It can be an individual or a charity or cause your mentor cares about.
6. Create joint ventures. Identify an interest you and your mentor share and develop a project to work on together. Working together to achieve a common goal will provide insight into their decision making and critical thinking. All of which you can learn from.
7. Nominate them for an award. The American Medical Women’s Association honors women who take time out of their busy schedules to contribute to the advancement of women in medicine. Nominate your mentor for an Exceptional Mentor Award. For AMWA Residents, we have the Charlotte Macguire Award.