Harvard i-lab | How to Get the Most Out of Your Mentor with Richard Dale | Summary and Q&A

August 28, 2013
Harvard Innovation Labs
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Harvard i-lab | How to Get the Most Out of Your Mentor with Richard Dale


Learn how to optimize your mentorship experience by understanding the importance of communication, asking the right questions, and managing expectations.

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Key Insights

  • 🗯️ Finding the right mentor who aligns with your business needs is essential for maximizing the mentoring experience.
  • 🤲 Effective communication, regular updates, and providing relevant information to your mentor are crucial for getting the most out of the relationship.
  • 🍵 Handling conflicts and managing differing opinions from multiple mentors can be challenging but provides an opportunity for learning and growth.
  • ℹ️ Mentors can be a valuable source of advice and guidance, but ultimately, you have to make your own decisions and trust your judgement.
  • 🏂 Transitioning from mentorship to board membership requires careful consideration and should be based on mutual trust and shared goals.
  • 🤗 The importance of managing expectations, understanding mentor dynamics, and being open to feedback contribute to a successful mentorship experience.


in the period of not rewarding the people who go out late are going to with all the people who show up on client thank you very much I'm in retail I'm a managing director with big data dr. Benton didn't you micro 15 pounds you can get financially strong I've been in working with early-stage companies for several years now during a bunch of mentorin... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How can I get the most out of working with a mentor?

Finding the right mentor is crucial. Clearly communicate the specific issues you need guidance on and ask targeted questions. Regularly update your mentor and provide relevant information to keep them engaged and provide actionable advice.

Q: How often should I communicate with my mentor?

The frequency of communication depends on the stage of your business and the level of support required. Weekly or monthly emails with updates and questions can be effective. Use discretion and be respectful of your mentor's time.

Q: What should I do if I have conflicting advice from multiple mentors?

Embrace the diversity of opinions and use them as a sounding board for different perspectives. Ultimately, you have to make the decision. Gather input from different mentors and make a well-informed decision based on your own judgment.

Q: Can a mentor be a competitor?

While it is not ideal, it is possible to have a mentor who is a competitor. Transparency and open communication about boundaries and conflicts of interest are vital in such situations. It may also be helpful to have a non-disclosure agreement in place.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The speaker, a managing director with experience in mentoring and entrepreneurship, shares insights on how to maximize the benefits of working with a mentor.

  • The importance of finding the right mentor and asking specific, targeted questions to address the challenges faced in business or startup development is emphasized.

  • The speaker discusses the need for effective communication, regular updates, and using tools like weekly emails and attachments to provide mentor with necessary information.

  • The relationship dynamic between mentor and mentee, conflicts that may arise, and the potential transition from mentorship to board membership are also explored.

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