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Five Rules For Meeting With A Mentor

One of the best opportunities to grow your leadership is to

learn from people who have gone where you’re going.

Over the years I have had the privilege of meeting with mentors whom I greatly respected.

During that time I’ve developed five rules that have served me well (and often gotten me a

second meeting) which I would love to share with you.

1. I always adjust to their schedule—ALWAYS!

When I am attempting to set up an appointment with someone I want to meet with, I

always ask them (or their assistant) to throw two or three dates at me that are most

convenient for them, and then I adjust my schedule to make the meeting happen.

I NEVER send them the times I want and then ask them to adjust their schedules. I am the

one who wants the meeting, and if they are available to me, I will bend over backward to

spend time with them.

2. I am always early for the appointment.

If I am driving from out of town I always make sure I arrive around 30 minutes early. If I get

there TOO early then I will find a coffee shop, or break out a book (ALWAYS have a book with


Usually I will arrive at the person’s office to meet them about 15 minutes early, and quite a

few times the person I am meeting with has been ready—thus giving me “bonus time!”

3. I have a list of at least five questions I want to ask.

John Maxwell said to me once, “I will mentor you, but you have to ask the questions. I am

not preparing a lesson for you...YOU guide this meeting. If you want to know something,

ASK. If you don’t ask anything then we don’t really have anything to talk about.”

SO...anytime I meet with a mentor (especially John) I am LOADED with questions.

Sometimes I get them all answered—sometimes I don’t—but I NEVER walk into a meeting

without having a list of what I would like to know.

4. I don’t talk about myself unless they ask.

Meeting with a mentor can be a bit nerve-racking. So in my early days, I found myself trying

to impress them by telling them about myself—thus wasting the time I could have been

spending seeking their wisdom on various matters.

Now when I meet with a mentor, I don’t spend 30 minutes telling them about myself, my

daily routine, and how good I think I am. I ask questions and then SHUT UP! If I disagree, I do

not argue. If they ask me a question, then I will answer. If not, then I will keep on asking

them my questions. They didn’t ask to meet with me; I wanted to meet with them—to learn

from them, not debate them.

5. I always send a note/gift saying thanks.

Anytime someone gives me time, I will send them a Starbucks gift card or a restaurant gift

card just to thank them for the time. And I jot them about a four-sentence note—NOT A

BOOK, but a note.

And if their assistant set up the meeting, then I send them a small gift as well. It makes a

huge difference.

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