For mentees

  • Be efficient with time. Before your call, get prepared to dive right into the topic and outcome you want to achieve. Have your resume and/or a relevant list of questions ready, or whatever makes sense.
  • Follow-up calls aren’t prohibited, but they are discouraged. Focus on having a discretely defined goal for the conversation: the question you need answered, the document you need edited, the interview messaging you need evaluated. If your mentor offers to do a follow-up call and it makes sense on both sides, that’s great. Otherwise, focus on making the most of your session and kick ass from there.
  • This isn’t a sales call. The purpose of these exchanges is to provide a valuable connection that enables one woman to capitalize on the expertise of another. As a result, selling to your mentor is forbidden. Your mentor is being generous with her time and insights to help you further your career, success, and happiness. There’s a time and place for everything, and this is neither the time nor the place to sell her something.

For mentors

  • Be honest & avoid sugarcoating. This is the right platform for speaking freely and being honest and frank about things as they are. Ensure the mentee really knows the score and is well prepared for the good and the bad of whatever she’s about to face.
  • Be actionable. Do your best to provide specific advice that can be achieved by the mentee. Help her focus on what she can control to drive her success and suggest concrete initiatives she can pursue in the near term to drive good outcomes with immediate and future endeavors.
  • Stick to the time. We know you’re busy and want to conserve your value for as many women as possible who can benefit from your expertise and advice. Avoid having any one woman monopolize your time, instead focusing on the power and impact of efficient exchanges, or what we might call “surgical strikes.” This kind of discipline around using other people’s time is an important skill set in the workplace for emerging women, so it’s good to start understanding it in this context.