No matter whether you are well-established in your career or starting off, finding the right mentor can do wonders for your job. It can help you shape your skills, allow you to learn from your mentor’s strengths and challenges, and have access to the resources that are necessary to advance.
Even if you think you like to figure out things on your own, having someone there to help you navigate your career can be a game-changer. Having a mentor can bring value into both your personal and professional life. While you might think that everyone is too busy to help you, don’t assume! You could find that people are very willing to mentor ambitious people, especially if they get asked. All you have to do is show them that you are worth the time and investment. Here is how you can find the perfect mentor for you.
Identify Your Needs
It doesn’t matter what your business or brand is, you need a mentor. Businesses are twice as likely to survive past five years if the owner has a mentor. Mentored employees are five times as likely to see a salary grade increase. What do you have to lose by getting a mentor?
Before you can even create a list of potential mentors, you first have to get to know yourself a little bit better. The more you know about yourself, the easier it will be to find someone who can help you achieve your goals. Identifying your own needs and goals can help determine what sort of mentor would be most beneficial to you at this stage in your career. Is it someone with expertise in a particular field or perhaps someone with tons of connections in an industry.
Find Someone You Look Up To
When you start your search for the perfect mentor, begin your search close to home. Look at friends and family members before looking at your wide network of acquaintances. Try to find someone you admire or who has qualities that you wish to embody. You might be able to find the perfect path that is a friend of a friend or colleague.
However, if none of your connections seem to be a good match, consider attending business associations in your area, community groups, or volunteering. The more people you get to know, the more likely you will find the right mentor for you.
See If the Personalities Match
Consider what type of mentor and personality you want to find. Are you looking for someone who is a good listener, a tough love sort of mentor, or perhaps someone who has been in a similar situation to you? Figuring out what you want will help you narrow down the list of potential mentors.
Finding the right personality match is critical to the success of your mentorship partnership. If you don’t respect your mentor, how can you expect to take advice from them? In addition, if you struggle taking feedback, and your mentor tends to give it, you might end up resenting them and their style. A mentor needs to see that you are ready to put in the work and commitment to making progress. If you aren’t willing to implement your advice, why should they spend the time and effort mentoring you? The perfect mentor is able to give you feedback in a helpful way and steer you in the right direction. You can assess the fit by going out to coffee or a meal to see what their style of communication is.
Establish A Relationship
Now that you have chosen a possible mentor, you must start to form a relationship. This will not happen overnight, as much as you may want the bond to be fully established from the start. It takes about 50 hours with someone to consider them a trusted connection, so the more you meet with them, the faster your relationship can progress.
You should show that you genuinely are interested in your mentor. Studies have shown that to ask for advice is a great way to build rapport. People who ask at least 9 questions in a 15-minute conversation are considered more likable. A mentorship is not a one-way street; you have to be considerate and listen as well. Always inquire about their projects and remember the advice they give. You don’t want them to feel like they are wasting their time if you aren’t listening.
The relationship should be fully formed, so now is the time to make the relationship official. Ask them in person if possible to be your mentor. That way, you can establish clear goals and expectations together. You don’t want to get into thinking that they can be there for you all the time when they have very different expectations of their relationship.
As mentioned above, this isn’t a one-way street. You should try to offer something in return. Even if you are just starting out in your career, you can be a soundboard for ideas. Or perhaps they have an upcoming event or a book launch that you can help with or promote. Do your research and make sure to think broadly about the various ways you can assist your mentor. Use your own strengths to help them in a memorable way.
After each meeting or interaction, don’t forget to thank your mentor. A little bit can go a long way to make sure that they remember that their time and energy is greatly appreciated!
Don’t become discouraged if finding the right mentor takes longer than you think. Not everyone wants to be a mentor, as it is a substantial emotional and time commitment. He or she will become invested in your career success, and this sort of role is not for everyone. It is vital not to give up! Around 80% of CEOs say they have received some form of mentorship. No matter what your career path is, try to find a mentor. While having a mentor is not the only path to success, it can help you get there.