Want To Find A Mentor? Here Are The Seven Steps You Need To Take.
You’ve probably heard it before: “get a mentor, it’ll be good for your career.” It seems like a great idea. Then reality sinks in. How do you actually find a mentor? You know, one that will understand you and all you want to achieve. Then it just seems too hard, and you don’t even start.
But finding a mentor is easier than you think.
So, what exactly is a mentor? Mentoring is a relationship in which two individuals work together towards a common goal. The mentor shares their experiences and helps you find the resources you need; the mentee sets the goal and keeps the relationship on track.
Mentoring is a priority for top leaders like Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg and more. It is a tool you can use to clarify your career direction, how to tackle workplaces challenges, and to show you have what it takes to lead.
Plus, it has been linked to increased levels of pay, improved career satisfaction, and more opportunities for career growth.
So now you understand what it means to have a mentor, how do you go about finding one who will appreciate you and help you face the challenges before you?
What do you want a mentor to help you with? The best way to start a treasure hunt is to know what you’re looking for. Otherwise, any ol’ thing will do.
Do you want help with personal branding? Maybe help to handle conflict, or even someone to be a sounding board/encourager for your ideas. It’s important to be clear about your goals before you get started.
#2 Sweet skillz
Who has the skills you’d like to acquire? Think BIG. I know someone who has emailed the CEO of Nike out of the blue to ask them out for a coffee. Others use Twitter, LinkedIn, or networking events to identify the people who can help you on your path to success.
#3 Who’s your perfect date?
It’s great to look back on your relationship between teachers, coaches, and friends. Most of the time, these friendships will have included a form of mentoring. Look at what you enjoyed about these experiences. Write it down and know that you are looking for these characteristics in your mentor – yup just like dating!
#4 Reach out
(TIP: Don’t start the email with “will you be my mentor”!)
Reaching out to a potential mentor can be scary. You can meet them in many different places, both informal and formal – environments like your current workplace, through Twitter or at networking events.
Another great way to meet amazing mentors is to reach out and connect on LinkedIn – send them a Private Message and if they reply, invite them out for a coffee.
Usually, you will invite your potential mentor out for a coffee via email. Here’s a handy template.
I’m reaching out as you are someone who has a lot of knowledge in marketing through The Cusp. I am interested to hear about your experiences as I have some marketing projects coming up and I would like to talk with you about how I could go about them.
Kind Regards …
Reaching out requires you to share with your future mentor why you are getting in contact, what skills you hope they can share. It also requires a bit of courage – but it’s worth it.
#5 Go with your gut
Once you’ve met for a coffee you need to reflect on the conversation. Look at how your mentor communicated, both verbal and non-verbal. Remember, you are going to be sharing personal and professional challenges with them. If it feels right, try and schedule another meeting.
But don’t feel you need to: some mentors are just a one-time thing; others last a lifetime. Go with your gut and make sure they are there to help you achieve your goal.
#6 It’s up to you
Show you can follow up and get back to them. Prove you are ready to take their advice and put it into action.
There is nothing worse as a mentor than having a fantastic mentee who never follows up or implements your advice. It makes you are just wasting time and energy.
#7 Repeat after me: I am worth it.
Perhaps you have reservations about whether you are ready. So many mentees are scared to waste their mentor’s time. After all, they are important and successful individuals with incredibly busy lives.
But these people want to invest in you! They see your potential. They hear you are ready to take your career seriously.
So if they don’t get back to you, send them an email to prompt them.
Mentoring is a great way to expand your professional network, get your ideas heard, and listen to the advice of others. It’s important to remember that you are the driver of it all. Mentors expect you to take charge, initiate meetings, and follow up.
It can feel intimidating, but the journey to find a mentor is one of the best feelings in the world. I know, I’ve got over seven mentors right now. And if you follow these steps you’ll be on your way to building your own army of amazing mentors too.
Samantha Bowen’s focus is to inspire us all to get involved and see the opportunities that surround us – through mentoring and sharing our personal challenges. She firmly believes that now is the time to count the leaders around us to build a future we all want to be part of.