University of Toronto

Innis Alumni & Friends

Being a Mentee: Questions, Answers & Expectations

What does it mean to be a Mentee? For the most part, there are no secrets to being mentored. Our Mentors in the Innis Mentorship Program are alumni and friends of the College, who are just as enthusiastic and interested in the experience as you. This means that you should feel comfortable being your inquisitive, attentive and respectful self. With that said, there are nuances to being mentored that can generate a more meaningful relationship. Below is a list of strategies, tips and explanations of etiquette to help start you off.

What should we talk about?

  • Get to know each other
    • What do you like most about your work?
    • What do you do in your free time?
    • Do you have a mentor?
    • What’s your favourite book/film etc.?
    • How do you define success?
    • How did you choose your career?
  • Create an agenda, communicate goals (think of what yours are before your first meeting!)
  • Career paths
  • Academic paths
  • Studying abroad
  • How to network
  • Co-Curricular Involvement
  • Industry/Professional standards
  • How to promote oneself
  • How to manage work/life balance
  • Professional Development and Associations

What are qualities of good mentees and mentors?

  • Genuine enthusiasm and commitment to the program
  • Good communication skills
  • Ability to reflect on experiences
  • Reliability and responsiveness
  • Ethical behaviour
  • Patience and positivity
  • Discretion
  • Invest in time and experience
  • Good telephone/in person/email etiquette

What are mentors expected to do?

  • Meet regularly (at least once a month) with mentees
  • Provide feedback, goal setting, advice
  • Speak to their own academic and career journeys

What are mentors NOT expected to do?

  • Tutor around specific academic subjects
  • Provide internships or job opportunities
  • Provide references and/or networking opportunities (not prohibited but not expected)

Questions to ask yourself

  • What do I want to get out of this relationship?
  • What can I bring to this meeting that is of value to my mentor?
  • Am I coach-able?
  • Can I take the responsibility for this mentoring relationship?
  • What can I do to cultivate this relationship?