January is Mentoring Month and January 21st is Thank Your Mentor Day. In truth, you should be thanking your mentors every day, not just once a year. Still, now is as good a time as any to let them know how much they mean to you. Here are some great ways to make your mentor feel special, and communicate how they have helped you become who you are today. Sometimes, mentors aren’t fully aware of how much their guidance has helped to accomplish – you are the best person to bring this to their attention.
1. Be old-fashioned
Hand-written notes and cards mean more than ever in the digital age. Sitting down and writing a note shows that you are taking the time to appreciate your mentor, just like they took the time to guide and support you. It leaves a bit of you on the paper and becomes a keepsake.
2. Celebrate your big wins with your mentor
Your mentors, above all else, want you to succeed. Make them part of the celebration when you close a big deal, hire a new employee, or reach any of the goals you set out to achieve with your mentor. Let them know in concrete terms how they contributed to this success.
3. Give a public Shout Out
Your mentors may be modest, and will rarely ask for public recognition. Still, they probably appreciate it when you are proactive about letting others know how great they are. Leave a great review on their LinkedIn profile, or tag them in a social media post singing their praises to your followers. You can join a larger dialogue with other grateful mentees by using tags like #ThankYourMentor. MicroMentor can also feature your Shout Out in our social media – just send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Send them a little bit of you
If you want to give a gift, make it personal. Sure a free coffee is fine, but even better is if you are able to share a free product sample, or photos from your life. This connects your mentor even more deeply to what your doing and who you are as a person.
5. Surprise them
The best expressions of gratitude are unexpected. So even if you just make an impromptu phone call or send a message, do it spontaneously. People rarely get appreciated out of the blue, so when it happens, it makes their day.
In the end, it matters less exactly how you thank your mentor, just that you do. Be authentic, and think about what would be meaningful to them. The whole reason they take the time to mentor others is to help people, so the best thing we can do is let them know how much they really did help.