Want to find a mentor? Here's what you need to know
Are you trying to find a mentor? Or are you still trying to pluck up the courage to ask a potential mentor to join you on your career journey? Mentors are critical to career success, but for many people, the fear of approaching a potential mentor is enough to scare them off completely!
If you have found your perfect mentor, but don't know how to approach them, here are my three tips to overcome this hurdle and start building a productive mentoring relationship today.
First, work out what you want
Before you approach a potential mentor, think about what you want.
Go beyond the easy stuff like a new job or a promotion. What drives you? What are your key strengths and what would you like to improve? Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Having clarity of thought about your own career shows a potential mentor that you are invested and willing to put in the hard work to make the relationship work.
Secondly, think about how you will handle the approach
Set out your goals from the outset and be transparent about what you want.
Do you want to be mentored about building leadership and influence? Or perhaps finding the confidence to put yourself forward at work? Why don’t you send an email to your mentor with a punchy title and include the following points:
- Why you want to talk to them;
- The goals that you would like to flesh out;
- How you suggest approaching the relationship (ie, would you like it to be a course of meetings?);
- A strategy you have devised to show that you will be accountable to your goals; and
- The outcomes that you want to achieve through mentoring.
If you haven’t talked to the person you would like to mentor you, be smart about your approach. Start following their work and take an interest in what they do. Are they active on LinkedIn? Speaking at an industry event? Be creative and get yourself on their radar. This will make it much easier than going in cold.
Thirdly, be someone that YOU would want to mentor
Your mentor is most likely a busy person who is giving up their time to help you. Perhaps most importantly, be someone who you would want to mentor. For example, when people approach me for guidance I want to see that they are proactive, driven to implement change and always lift others up as they create their path.
Finally, don’t feel like you need to find all your mentoring needs in one person. Why don’t you consider building your own shelf of mentors? Check out my post on this topic here.