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7 Tips To Help You Find (and keep) The Right Mentor

Date: 25 June 2015

A workplace mentor is someone who can help you develop vital skills in your professional life. 

They give advice, yes, but their value extends far beyond that. A mentor can help you move towards career goals, help you develop your professional skills and capabilities, boost your confidence, and help you make the most of new opportunities.

Mentorship is more than just developing an industry connection; it is a partnership that focuses on professional – and personal – growth.

With so much to offer, it is surprising how few of us actually enlist the help of a professional mentor. Perhaps this is partly due to the fact we first have to find one – and the right one, at that.

We won’t lie, finding a mentor isn’t easy. However, spending time and effort to find the right one will be well worth it. It could even change your life. And not just for you, the mentee – but for the mentor, too.

So, how do you actually find (and keep) a marvellous mentor? Here are a few tips to help you on your way:

1. Think about what you hope to achieve

Different people will want the support of a mentor for different reasons. Perhaps you are stuck in a rut at work, just back from maternity leave, or hoping to make the next step up in your career. Think about where you are, who you are, and what you want to achieve. Do you want someone who can offer expertise, good contacts, or ‘sanity checks’? Answering these questions will help you better understand yourself and give you more chance of finding the right person.

2. Find your mentor

Ideally, a mentor should be identified from the people you already interact with. They are someone who will be there both personally and professionally – they will know you, but also know the industry and business in which you are involved. It’s this mix that makes for an exceptional career mentor. However, don’t just select a mentor from within your office; your perfect mentor could be a neighbour, a connection on LinkedIn, or a relative.

3. Sell yourself

Finding the perfect mentor means selling yourself to them. Be ready to speak confidently about yourself, show you have real potential, and ditch the modesty. Practice what you will say in advance and speak with conviction.

4. Start as you mean to go on

Once you have identified a possible mentor, arrange an informal meeting. Go for a coffee or lunch together to make sure you both understand what the relationship involves. Discuss logistics – how often you will meet, how the meetings will be structured, and how you will measure your success. You should also talk about the qualities you admire in that person, why you see them as a role model and how their experience relates to your goals. And make sure you feel comfortable with your mentor. You could (potentially) spend a lot of time together, so you need to have a connection and enjoy one another’s company.

5. Give as well as take

Remember that mentoring is a two-way partnership and is hugely rewarding for both parties. If you are both going to gain from the experience, your relationship with your mentor needs to be reciprocal. Get to know their goals and what they want to get out of the partnership. Try to create opportunities that will help your mentor and show your gratitude. Also, be the kind of person you would like to mentor yourself – be honest, open, flexible, respectful, and eager to learn.

6. Stay committed

Once you have laid down the groundwork, make sure you stick to the plan. Know what you want to cover in each meeting before the meeting starts and stay focused. Remember, you have chosen your mentor for a reason, so make sure you make the most of the experience.

7. Share what you gain

You may want to extend the mentoring chain further still. Why not make yourself available as a mentor to others? It will give you a better idea of how to work with your own mentor, as well as letting you share what you have learned, and giving someone else a helping hand, too.

Workplace mentoring is a great way to progress your career and get the most out of your working life. For more information about this topic, or help with finding a great career mentor, contact us.

 

 

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