Mentorship: What to Expect and What not to Expect

What are the expectations of a successful mentoring relationship? Find out the dos and don’ts of mentorship. Learn how a mentor can boost your career potential.



"If you cannot see where you are going, ask someone who has been there."

~ J Loren Norris

The above quote summarises the importance of mentorship in a few words.

Everyone needs support and guidance on their career journey.

And if it's from someone who's already been there and succeeded, it can save you from repeating their mistakes.

We all need a shred of hope after getting stuck.

The mentors will help you make decisions that are right for you. They act as a boon to your confidence. 🌟

The relationship between a mentor and a mentee is not strictly defined.

It can be a business relationship or one that evolved into a good friendship. No matter the reason, the purpose is the same.

“Helping the mentee with genuine advice and feedback.”

This is also the reason why you need to find a mentor that understands your expectations, especially when you’re seeking career advice.

But before you begin your search of mentor, you need to ask a rationale question:

“What I should look for in a mentor?”

Unless you know your requirements and set expectations, the mentorship cannot be fruitful.

To help you out, this article will shed a light on 👇

  • What to expect from a mentor?
    • What not to expect from a mentor?
      • What can you do to maintain a healthy mentor-mentee relationship?

        Mentorship bridges the gap between what you already have and what you want.

        Here are the 3 A’s of Mentorship:

        ✪ Active Listening

        ✪ Availability

        ✪ Analysis

        So, when you’re working with a mentor to achieve specific goals in your career, you should ideally experience these 3 A’s.

        Now, let’s dig a little deeper and see what expectations you can have from your mentor.

        What to expect from a mentor? 🙆

        1. They share with you their experiences and knowledge

        Whenever you wish to seek guidance on something, you naturally look for someone who has some experience dealing with the same challenges as you.

        A mentor is someone who has already walked down the same path. If you’re preparing for an interview, your mentor would be someone in a higher job profile with more advanced-level skills.    

        They can easily understand your challenges, pick out the pain points and give advice based on their own experience.

        Someone from the same company with the same profile that you want to achieve would be the perfect fit.

        Nowadays several platforms provide mentors from your desired company. One such platform is Preplaced.

        For example, if you are looking to crack a Google SDE interview, look for someone from Google who is or was in the same profile.

        Create a checklist of questions that will help you find a good mentor. This checklist can include:

        • What skills would you like to develop?
          • What company are you targeting?
            • How many years of experience are you looking for in the mentor?

              2.  A Good Listener

              Listening is a prized human trait.

              "A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself."

              ~ Oprah Winfrey

              We all are always on the lookout for finding someone to vent to. Venting is common but listening and actually validating your opinion can give the conversation more meaning and clarity.

              A good mentor will listen to your ideas.

              They will be involved in a double-sided conversation. They will make sure to remove any interruptions when with you.

              This will make you feel heard and important.

              3. Provide Personal Strategy

              One size does not fit all.

              It is easy to get stuck on the career ladder. A good mentor will help you shine with your own skill sets.

              The strategies that worked for some might not work for you. While looking for a mentor you need someone who understands and thinks from your point of view.

              Instead of replicating their own or someone else's journey, they will create a plan keeping in mind what you are good at.

              They are investing their time to help you achieve your goals. And if they are not keen to help you devise and follow the best strategy and action plan, this association will be a waste of time.

              4. Holds you accountable

              A strong mentor-mentee relationship is not based on sugarcoating. Holding you accountable for mistakes is a sign of good mentorship.

              We all are guilty of breaking promises, New Year's Resolution, anyone?

              But if you commit to someone else, the onus to complete it becomes greater.

              While having mentoring sessions, if you are not able to complete your assignments or whatever is asked of you, your mentor should question you.

              They will have some expectations of you as well. If they're just here for the namesake then you're in for a failure.

              5. Provides honest feedback

              Mentorship is about two things.

              Guiding you and providing constructive feedback. While finding a mentor, start with the mentality of accepting criticism.

              If you want to only vent and remain blinded by your shortcomings, the scope to improve diminishes.

              A mentor will be objective with their evaluation.

              No matter the age, everyone needs some kind of feedback. By being consistent and working on the given suggestions, you can improve your skill sets.

              Along with providing honest feedback, a mentor will also encourage you to step out of your comfort zone. They will be there to help in case you falter.

              6. Respects your opinions

              Constructive feedback and blatant criticism are two different things. A good mentor will be respectful of your opinions.

              They will not talk anybody down or be judgemental. They’ll be enthusiastic and positive.

              Disagreeing respectfully is a sign of good emotional intelligence.

              If you are feeling uncomfortable with the upcoming challenges feel free to talk to them. They will provide you with reasonable feedback and highlight the areas that you haven't considered yet.

              What not to expect of a mentor? 🙅

              A mentor is not a genie who can make all your wishes come true.

              They are there to help you create a successful path for yourself and nudge you from time to time if you deviate from the track.

              On the pretext of taking help from mentors, mentees completely forget that they have a certain set of responsibilities towards themselves too.

              A healthy mentor-mentee relationship requires effort from both sides.

              1. Cannot provide you with job offers

              The mentors are there as a support system. They won't be directly opening doors to opportunities or job offers for you.

              It's on you.

              They can only help you indirectly by adding you to their network or referring you in some cases. So, buckle up for the upcoming challenges.

              2. Cannot always take initiative for you

              It is not a Bonnie-Clyde relationship.

              There will be a limit to how much your mentor is invested in your goals. You also have to take action for your own success.

              At every turning point, you cannot expect the mentor to make decisions for you.

              If you are not willing to improve yourself, how can you expect others to do the same? It's a two-way path. You have to be proactive in creating plans and goals for yourself.

              3. Cannot follow up on your commitments every time

              Often the best mentors are the busiest of all professionals. For their busy schedule, they cannot always remember the detailed points of every session.

              Do remind them of the progress you made as per the past feedback you got from them.

              Absorb the information they are sharing in the session and make notes to review it later.

              Discuss the availability and don't shy away from asking questions. Complete your assignments on the set deadline.

              And most importantly, be prepared to direct the conversation.

              4. Cannot be your personal therapist

              Do not make the session just about your personal life. While it is okay to vent, the sessions are for your professional growth. Respect their boundaries.

              5. Cannot spoon-feed you

              Unlike a teacher, the mentor is only there to help enhance your capabilities through his own experiences. Do not expect everything to be presented on a silver platter.

              Too much spoon-feeding can deter the thinking process.

              They can only guide your career trajectory and push you to proactively learn and think.

              Tips to maintain a healthy mentor-mentee relationship ✨

              👉 Trust and Respect

              Acknowledge each other's time and commitments. The relationship is formal and bound by a timeline.

              The footing of any good relationship is built upon trust and sincerity.

              You should be comfortable enough to confide in the mentor without any hesitation.

              👉 Communication is key

              Both parties should know about each other's responsibilities and expectations.

              Create a communication plan and work through it.

              Mentorship can make a huge impact on your career. Be a good listener and work on your weak points.

              It's not easy to seek help. So if you are reaching out, give it your all.

              You should be willing to do the heavy lifting. Have conversations about what interests you and what does not. Ask for feedback on your projects and a specific topic you want to handle.

              This will make the sessions productive.

              👉 Commitment

              The mentor and mentee should be committed to the latter's success.

              On one hand, the mentor should analyse the mentee's needs and create a plan accordingly. On the other, the mentees should come prepared for each session.

              Evaluating progress and actively engaging are the components of success.

              👉 Be open to accepting feedback

              Your opinions may be disagreed upon. And it's perfectly normal. Don't look out for constant praise or criticism. The feedback will depend on how you're performing.

              This is an excellent opportunity to use the feedback for improving yourself.

              How mentorship at Preplaced works?

              Preplaced provides a 1:1 mentee-driven mentorship for the perfect interview preparation journey. An ideal interview journey for most looks something like this:


              The highlighting factor that makes Preplaced different from other similar platforms are:

              ✅ Personalisation

              ✅ Customization

              ✅ Context

              By context, we mean defining,

              ✅ What content to use?

              ✅ When to use?

              Let's take a quick walkthrough of how our end-to-end Interview preparation program works. 👣

              ✵ Finding a suitable mentor

              Understanding your own requirements straight from the beginning will help you find the perfect mentor. Some things that are considered while assigning you a mentor are,

              ✪ Experience level

              ✪ Role

              ✪ Designation

              ✪ Target companies

              The goal is to select someone who fits your criteria.

              ✵ Trial Session

              Once a mentor is assigned, an introduction session of 30 minutes will be conducted.

              The goal is to know each other, discuss the program and understand how long it will take for you to complete your Interview preparation.

              ✵ Planning session

              This 60 minutes session is the most important part of the Interview preparation program.

              Depending upon what stage you are at, short-term and long-term goals will be created for you.

              Short-term goals can be for a week or two. An example would be something like this if preparing for a technical role,

              🔸Week 1:

              Complete theory and 40-50 medium questions across LinkedList, stacks, and queues using the resources that the mentor shared.

              🔸Week 2:

              Finish networking concepts using shared videos and be ready for a mock interview on them.

              Long-term preparation can range anywhere from a month to 2-3 months.

              If you have a timeline of 2 months to complete your preparation, the goals can be defined like below,

              🔸1st Month - Completing Data Structures & Algorithms

              🔸2nd Month -  Focusing on System Design and revising DSA

              These are just references, as it is personalized it will depend on what you are looking for and how much time you have in your hand for preparation.

              ✵ Sharing resources

              When the goals are set, the mentor will share resources and give tasks.

              This will help you in skill building. You will be required to complete this within the given time frame.

              ✵ Evaluation and Feedback

              Another great thing about this program is that you will get weekly feedback.

              These sync-up sessions (as we call them) will track your progress.


              ✵ Unlimited support

              You will also get a dedicated private chat with your mentor on slack. With this, the mentor is merely a few taps away.

              Ask your doubts regarding the assignments or the plan. Mentors also can share resources with you in the chat to keep you up to date.

              Both of you can decide on a fixed time slot to avoid any delay in communication.

              The best thing is that you can remain connected even after the program is over. The private chat will still be there so that you can reach out in case of any future obstacles.

              Wrapping it up

              There you have it!

              We hope that after reading this article, you are clear about the mentorship expectations.

              Mentoring is a powerful tool to boost your professional growth. So it is essential to find the perfect mentor. 💫

              Preplaced is 100% committed to your success. 💪

              With the mentorship program, you can easily cross the interview hurdle and grab your dream job.