Finding the right mentor
Let’s say you are getting ready to make a big presentation or you are interested in climbing the corporate ladder. Then you may want to find a mentor, because they will be able to guide you in the right direction. Here are a few ways mentors can help you achieve greater success:
• By sharing their experiences, knowledge and insights, and the lessons they learned. This will help you develop your skills at a quicker pace than even attending a course will. The reason mentoring is so effective is that you are receiving advice based on your needs at that moment.
• By providing feedback. Let’s say you would like to ask your employer for a raise or that you would like to bring forth a new idea that will help you company’s bottom line. You can role play this scenario with your mentor and receive their constructive feedback.
• By providing you with encouragement, support and inspiration. A mentor can help you open your mind to new opportunities and ideas, and provide you with a boost of inspiration.
The first step to finding the right mentor is writing down what you would like to achieve, and then start to think about the type of mentor who can help you get to where you want to go. Ask yourself: Which skills do they have? Which industry do they have experience in? What do they do? Where do they live (if it’s important for you to meet them in-person)? Now, you are ready to start searching for a mentor—here are a few ideas on where to look:
• Join discussion groups on social media sites and/or conduct a Google search. Contact someone who is providing valuable advice.
• Check in with you company’s Human Resources department, the college/university that you graduated from and the associations you belong to because they may have a mentoring program established.
• Identify mentors through your network. Think about your family members, friends and business contacts. If they aren’t the mentor you need, they will probably know someone they could recommend.
• Visit MentorCity.com, a website for matching people with appropriate mentors.
When you contact potential mentors, remember that it is an honour to be asked by someone for advice and guidance, that everyone has a few minutes to spare, and that people generally like to support others. Take the mentoring relationship slow—if there is a good fit, you may want to establish a more formal mentoring relationship. Or, you can keep things informal and reach out to them on an as-needed basis.