I owe a lot of my success in life to my mentors and advisors who have helped me along my life journey. Their guidance kept me on the right path when things got confusing, helped me make the right decisions during difficult times and supported and encouraged me in my growth.
Where do you look to find a mentor and how do you go about starting that kind of relationship? It can be less intimidating if you know where to look and how to go about it.
Look inside your company
This can be very challenging if you work in a company that is either really small or really large. If it’s small, you just don’t have a large pool to choose from. If it’s exceptionally large, it becomes so big that it can be overwhelming to know where to begin.
If you utilize your professional network to help you find a mentor be sure to follow these steps:
- The mutual connection should reach out on your behalf to the potential mentor first to see if they would be interested.
- Reach out to the potential person after your connection says that it’s ok to contact.
- Introduce yourself and set up an introduction time that’s informal and works around their schedule.
Skipping these steps and trying to establish a mentor relationship cold will not likely end as you want it to. They may not know who you are, your request can catch them off guard and the person may not be in a place to be able to take you on.
Look outside your company
Don’t neglect your network outside your company when searching for a mentor. Your church, family friends and other community connections all have significant value. It’s also ok to have a couple of mentors that have different strengths and perspectives to help you along the way.
Respect and give back.
There shouldn’t be a one way street between you and your mentor where you are taking all the value and adding nothing in return. Look for ways to add value back to your mentor. This could be by lightening their load in some way, offering your own expertise on a topic or using your network to help grow theirs. No matter your life stage, you have something that you can offer back.
Be sure to show up on time and prepared when you have time with your mentor. It shows them that you have respect for their time and that you value the time that you have together.
Ensure that it’s the right fit.
The person that you want as a mentor may be a highly successful business executive and lives in a home that looks just like your dream house. No matter how much you want the relationship, it will never work out if the two of you do not fit personality wise. Just as in all relationships, without chemistry, there can not be a long lasting meaningful relationship.
Getting to know the potential mentor a little on a personal level before you enter into that relationship is helpful. If that’s not possible, use the first meeting to get to know each other and see if you are a match for each other. It’s best to know early and not pursue than you both lose engagement early on. That time could be used on a mentor that you hit it off with instead.
Finding the right mentor can truly accelerate your personal and professional growth.
Make a better tomorrow.