Yesterday we congratulated winners of the 11th Annual New Dentist Committee Awards Luncheon taking place at the 27th New Dentist Conference. The subject of mentors and mentoring came up a lot.
Start Small Just as you would be wary of someone who proposed marriage on the first date, a potential mentor may shy away from a formal request for mentorship. Instead, start out by asking for advice on a single, well-defined challenge. For instance, “How do you approach case acceptance when the patient’s objection is that it will take too much time?”
Show that you are Serious If you received good advice, implement it and report back to your potential mentor. You’ll demonstrate that you are a good investment for the mentor’s time and effort. This might be a time to suggest a casual meeting over coffee.
Be Quick to Listen, Slow to Defend A key component of your mentor’s value is a willingness to share frank observations with you. While there is no expectation that you agree with all the feedback you receive, resist the urge to contradict your mentor. A useful phrase for you is, “Wow, you and I are looking at the same information and coming to two different conclusions. Will you share more of your thinking so I can see this from your point of view?”
Remember to Have Fun A mentorship should be an energy boost for both of you, not another in a list of “ought to do” obligations. Remember to reach out to your mentor to share good news, to make purely social invitations, and connect in other ways that aren’t primarily about you asking for guidance.