Many mentors want to give back to interventional radiology, help others, and share their knowledge, among other possibilities. As a mentee, you may hope to gain something of more practical value, such as advice on your career within IR, questions, strategies on how to build your network, or insight into the realities and culture of IR, just to name a few.
Hopefully, both you and your mentor will benefit from the relationship. But, because you stand to gain more tangible benefits, it is your role, as a mentee, to be proactive. Success depends on the actions you take! Here are some guidelines that can help.
Identify Your Motivations (Ask yourself...)
- Why do I want to be mentored?
- What do I hope to get out of this experience?
Requesting a Mentor
You may be nervous about asking someone to be your mentor. That’s normal. Keep in mind – they already signed up for this program! If they weren’t willing to be asked, they would not have volunteered. Most people are happy and flattered to be asked for help. After you send the official request to your mentor, it’s recommended that you follow up with a brief personal message. Just three sentences are all you need:
- One sentence summarizing why you’re seeking a mentor
- One sentence about what drew you to their profile (such as what interests you have in common)
- One sentence expressing hope that they will consider working with you and thanking them for their time
Once your mentor has been confirmed, you should discuss the details of how you would like to work together. Be open to their ideas – and especially to any time constraints they may have – but also be open with them about what you want. Let your mentor know:
- Your goals for the mentoring experience
- What you would like to learn from him or her, what you need advice on, etc.
- Your communication preferences and general availability
You must take the lead, and also do the work to achieve your goal. Your mentor is there to guide you, answer questions, suggest action, and encourage you.
- Contact your mentor to introduce yourself.
- Be the one to organize any phone calls or meetings.
- Ask for what you want, as long as it is reasonable and realistic.
- Be open and receptive to feedback.
- Ask questions if you don’t understand something your mentor says. There are no stupid questions!
- If you agree to take a certain action, follow through. Report back to your mentor on what did or didn’t work.
- If you don’t agree with a suggested course of action, say so honestly and discuss alternatives. If you feel you’re being misunderstood, speak up and clarify your goals.
Things to Remember
- Your mentor is your advisor, guide, and resource, but not your parent or boss.
- Understand that your mentor cannot make decisions for you.
- Be appreciative of the time your mentor is spending to help you. A written thank-you letter at
- the end of your mentoring period is a great idea and simple to do.
- One of the best ways to thank your mentor is by following up later. Have you implemented an idea that you discussed with your mentor? Was it a success? Let your mentor know that something they told you made a difference.
- Consider becoming a mentor yourself – now or sometime in the future. You don’t have to be a high-level professional with decades of experience to share your knowledge. Think about ways you can help others and get involved.
Questions about SIR Mentor Match? Please contact Morgan Grant, SIR Program Manager of Volunteer Engagement at firstname.lastname@example.org.