A mentoring relationship should be rewarding for both sides. If only the mentee is getting something out of the relationship, chances are the mentor will soon opt out.
It’s common for mentees to think that they have nothing to give back to their mentor. That simply isn’t true. Though you might not be able to give back in a monetary way, the fact is most mentors aren’t in it for the money.
So how can a mentee give back to a mentor?
At the most simple level, mentors want to feel good about the fact that they’re making a difference in your life.
Let your mentor(s) know how they’ve made a difference in your life. Be specific. Let them know how your life would have turned out if it wasn’t for them.
After every meeting with you, your mentors should walk away feeling like they did a great thing. This feeling is why many mentors give a helping hand.
Another way you can give back to your mentors is through public mentions. As you and your company become more successful, you’ll have the opportunity to speak in public or be written about in public.
When that happens, go out of your way to mention your mentor(s). This will help them build up their name and also gives them a sense that you truly do appreciate what they do for you.
If you read books by successful people, you’ll find that they often acknowledge their mentors and influencers by name. They’ll do this not just in the “acknowledgements,” but in the core of the book itself.
Find places to mention your mentors in public and they’ll love you for it.
Finally, the ultimate way to say “thank you” to a mentor is to be extraordinarily successful. Mentors want to know that they made a difference and that their contribution helped you hit your goals.
Mentors want to make a difference in the world. If you go from starting a brand new business to being a successful entrepreneur thanks to your mentors, they’ll feel very fulfilled. They’ll be glad they took you on.
Though mentees usually can’t give back to their mentors in financial ways, you’ll often be able to give back to mentors in emotional ways.
Make sure mentors feel good about helping you out. Make sure they walk away from your meetings glowing. Make sure that they’re better off having spent time with you than if they hadn’t.
Don’t view your mentorship relationships as you taking something from them. View it as a mutual relationship, where they want to make a difference and you’re their conduit. They’re making a difference in your life and your business and in return, they get a wide range of emotional benefits.