How to Find The Right Mentor: 3 Steps to Landing a Fruitful Relationship
No doubt Oprah Winfrey says it best, “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.”
Mentoring has become a fun buzz word. Social media influencers gush about it. Executives on LinkedIn recount stories of mentoring relationships which heralded them incredible success. And, many great books have been written about it. It leaves most of us craving this elusive relationship and begging the question of how to find one.
Good mentors are life changing. They are able to help you discover your true purpose, the courage to take big risks and the guidance to circumvent mistakes.
The easy answer is that they are hard to come by and that reason alone is why there is such mystery and gratitude surrounding the relationship. Good mentors are life changing. They are able to help you discover your true purpose, the courage to take big risks and the guidance to circumvent mistakes.
Mentorship is a gift and there is an art to landing a fruitful relationship.
Step 1: Define the Purpose.
Let’s start from the beginning and first define mentorship. According to Merrim-Webster, a mentor is a trusted counselor or guide. There are many different types of mentor relationships. Mentors to help you grow personally and those who only help professionally.
For example, a personal mentor may share advice on how to become a better spouse or parent. Likewise, a professional mentor can give actionable advice on climbing the corporate ladder or delving into entrepreneurship.
Regardless of the purpose, it needs to be defined and have an achievable outcome. Remember the mentor’s time is valuable and a clear agenda is always appreciated. Mentoring is not an invitation to have open-ended conversations with important people. It has purpose with a beginning and an end.
Step 2: Start looking!
With goals clearly defined, identify and make a list of ideal mentors. Individuals that mentor often will have predetermined seasons that they set aside for mentoring and, on occasion, you may contact someone that doesn’t mentor at all. Creating a list will help you prioritize the contacts and help you stay focused.
Next, look for ways to connect. Are you already connected through your employer? Maybe connected via social media? If the potential mentor is not in your personal or professional network, do you know of someone who could connect you? You may need help to reach the right mentor.
Lastly, ask around! Letting people know you are looking for a mentor helps spread the word, and quite possibly, may create an opportunity with someone you never thought of just by letting them know you are searching for one.
Step 3: Solidify the relationship.
When reaching out to potential mentors, make sure to be clear, concise and explain why you think they are best for the job. Sincere compliments are always appreciated. Let them know your intentions by detailing the area(s) you are looking for advice and the amount of time you are looking to meet. Generally speaking, the more direct the better outcome you’ll receive.
Most mentors will come well equipped to provide you guidance but by setting forth your goals in the beginning, you will make their job much easier. And remember, good mentors will not only bring their experience to the table but also their network. Be sure to steward the relationship well.
Lastly, remember to repay the favor. You may not feel like you have much to offer but someone is a few steps behind you just waiting for a little help. Mentoring is a great way for you to sharpen your skills and make a difference in someone else’s life.
Good mentors will not only bring their experience to the table but also their network. Be sure to steward the relationship well.
Nothing is more gratifying than being part of someone’s story to achieve greatness.