Looking to find a mentor? You should be focusing on how to find the right mentor instead! This is because a good mentor will help in adding more value to your professional journey and help you gain invaluable insights into your career/business, professional scenario, future pathways, goals, opportunities and other tactics. Finding the right mentor may be a challenging task, although it is worth putting some time and effort into the process.
Why do you need a mentor?
What makes a good mentor? Or, to start, why do you need one in the first place? Mentors are guides and counsellors, offering advice and insights along with solutions through their experience, reliability and industry credentials. They help in coming up with decisions, planning strategies and fixing future goals. A good mentor is also someone who is willing to engage, listen and collaborate towards helping people grow and succeed while possessing vast domain knowledge, experience and capabilities.
You will need a professional mentor who can help you build future connections to tap opportunities, a letter of recommendation, gain accurate and insightful feedback on your own weaknesses and strengths and identify scope and resources for skill development. A mentor will help you with support throughout new applications or business growth initiatives. You will get a sounding board on your professional decision-making and hurdles as well.
How to find a good mentor- 11 ways that you can try
Find a mentor who is just right for you with the help of these tips!
- Think about whether you actually need mentorship
You should first assess whether you are in need of mentorship or not. Ask yourself about your own temperament and needs and whether you will be a good mentee to the mentor. Are you flexible, open to feedback and possible criticism? Are you willing to put in the hours and effort to improve? Are you looking at actively developing skills and swiftly climbing the career ladder? If the answers are internally YES, then you should definitely go for a mentor.
- Zero in on specific needs
Outline all objectives for your future career growth and other specific goals. This will help you identify specific needs, for which you will require mentorship and guidance. It will help you choose someone who can help you with the same.
- Choose people carefully
When considering people as mentors, think about those who are already established in their spheres and have committed towards giving back to the entrepreneurial, business or corporate community. You can also seek out those in positions where you wish to land in the future.
- Tap your own network first
There are several places where you can begin your search for mentors including professional groups and associations, family networks, non-profit entities, workplaces and companies.
- Have your pitch ready
Be prepared to confidently talk about why you chose the person, what you expect, your objectives and the time and other commitments involved in the process. The more confident and sincere you are, the more chances of landing a good mentor.
- Schedule your meeting
Try and plan a meeting for meeting your mentor since this will help you both more than an e-mail or phone conversation. A personal meeting always helps both sides talk about things and explain their points of view. Go for a meeting first before finally settling for a telephone call or e-mail conversation.
- Explain your reasons for mentorship clearly
Explain your expectations from your mentor along with your specific needs and what you wish to gain from the same. This will outline everything to the mentor and help him/her take a decision accordingly.
- Let them know why you chose them
Explain the reasons for selecting them and how much their expertise and experience are valued. This is likely to help you get a positive response. If they know someone who values what they have to bring to the table, they will be more amenable towards helping him/her out.
- Make things easier
Always respect the time of the mentor by offering to take care of all logistics, i.e. setting up calls, meeting venues and so on. Offer to send questions and agendas in advance as well. Once mentors see that you will take the initiative in these aspects, they may be more inclined towards supporting you.
- Start listening and valuing feedback
Start off with listening carefully to what the mentor is telling you at the outset. If you are a good listener and ask relevant questions, this will demonstrate your willingness to learn and grow with mentorship to the person concerned. Demonstrate these capabilities right at the outset.
- Be grateful
Always express gratitude for the prospective mentor’s time, be it for a first meeting or a phone call. The mentor has his/her own workplace commitments, personal schedules and responsibilities. Show your respect for their time and energy at the beginning itself. Show your appreciation by asking mentors about their lives and developments. This will be a good starting point for potentially building a mentor-mentee relationship in the future.
These are some tips that will help you find the best possible mentor for your needs. You should remember to do your initial research very carefully. Always choose someone from a similar background and with a similar business or career trajectory or profile. This will make them more amenable to your pitch while also helping them understand your career goals better. The been there-done scenario is always desirable when it comes to choosing a good mentor. A mentor who was in your shoes earlier will naturally know about the hurdles and obstacles along the journey along with helping you navigate the same while avoiding costly mistakes. At the same time, this will help him/her to devise action plans and strategies for quicker growth and progress of the mentee.
Hence, make sure that you follow these pointers for selecting the best mentor for your specific objectives.
To find a mentor that fits perfectly with your needs and wants, check out Seekho’s comprehensive list of mentors.