As I’m sure many of you have seen, David Cohen’s “Mentor Manisfesto” is a great set of guidelines for mentors. It’s been very helpful to me in my journey as a mentor and it’s certainly helped us recruit mentors for MergeLane. However, I had an experience the other day that inspired me to think about this from the mentee perspective.
I’m a mentor for another accelerator and I reached out to one of the companies in their upcoming cohort because they were based in Vail and I was planning to be in Vail before the start of the accelerator. Here’s how it went down:
The managing director of the accelerator sent them an intro with a little blurb on my background. I then received three different emails from each of their team members to tell me when and where they could meet (all different). Then, one of the team members asked me if they could call me for a few minutes before we set up the meeting. We talked for 30 minutes and he spent the first 20 minutes asking me questions about my background which he easily could have answered by reading the original intro email and a taking a quick glance at LinkedIn. This was all during my busiest time at MergeLane (which he also could have gleaned from LinkedIn), so needless to say, I was not thrilled.
So…I took a deep breath, remembered the Mentor Manifestor vow to “be direct” and respectfully shared my thoughts. I explained that his accelerator mentors were volunteering their time. I explained that many of these mentors receive hundreds of requests for meetings and have schedules that are booked solid, several months in advance. I pointed out the importance of first impressions when recruiting mentors and investors, and I asked him whether this feedback was helpful. He immediately apologized and has since gone above and beyond to be respectful of my time. We had a great first meeting and I am now delighted to be his mentor. But….it made me wonder how many companies were turning off potential mentors because of a simple lack of understanding.
Enter the Mentee Decree. I’ve taken several points from David’s Mentor Manifesto and reworked it from the other perspective. If you have any feedback on this, please leave a comment.
The Mentee Decree:
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