Mentorship is one of the most important ingredients for success!
Remember your first teacher in school. Teachers are such an important part of growing up. But once we grow up and move out of our parents’ home we find ourselves figuring everything out alone. Google definitely helps, however, there is no filter to decide the quality of advice. It’s also not exactly tailored to your needs. Any person who has ever achieved anything great will tell you, they had a mentor or a coach. Coaching is a short-term task, mentoring is a lifelong relationship. In today’s world, it might be hard to foster real long-term relationships, but you got to start somewhere.
This year I evaluated my life at the beginning of the year and found out I had no mentors. I always thought I had the ability to achieve great things, but I continued to struggle with the epic question “Where should I start?”. The answer is “start with finding a MENTOR”.
Mentors help you understand the challenges behind your goals. They also help in making decisions that you are struggling with. Their experience and expertise are invaluable for someone who is just starting their career. They help you stay focused and accountable. Mentorship is a relationship, not a business, so if someone is asking you to pay them, then that’s Coaching or Life Coaching. We will discuss the difference between the two in detail in another post.
7 ways to help you find and work with a mentor
1. Get clear on your goal
This is a common mistake why more people don’t have mentors. Most of us aren’t clear about what we want. Spend at least a week or two to get clarity on what it is that you hope to achieve from this mentor-mentee relationship. Set small goals for yourself, that will get you to your bigger goal and always go into a mentor call/meeting with an agenda.
If you find it hard to set your own goals, then “Goal Setting” can be the area you need a mentor for. See, it’s all about clarity. One exercise that has helped me in the past is, to find someone whose life I admire or I am jealous of. Jealousy is your mind’s way of telling you what your heart truly desires. Analyse this emotion and use it to your advantage.
2. Go through your contacts
Find people in your current circle, that may be able to help you. The secret is, show them how amazing they are. Make them the center of the conversation. This is the key to get anyone’s attention. Everyone loves an honest praise! If you are honest about why you are impressed by them, they will get back to you. Even if they can’t find the time to mentor you, they will politely decline with a thank you.
The first place to search is your past managers, leadership figures in your past projects or someone who just got the promotion you know you want in the future. See if there is someone who can help you. Email them with what you want, always sign off by saying “let me know if I can help you in any way.” This sentence can work very powerfully.
3. Use social media
Linkedin is your best friend for this. You don’t want to cold email strangers to be your mentors. Instead following someone you admire can give you an insight into how they operate. You can use this platform to connect with someone who isn’t working at your company anymore or an old senior from school. A good rule of thumb to remember is; you should’ve met them at least once in person before you email them.
5. Do your research
Just like goal setting, you need to do a thorough research about your mentor. At least well enough to hold a good conversation with them. This doesn’t mean you have to stalk them on social media! It just means that you need to know their title, their education, expertise and geographical location. This will help you ask the right questions and approach the right people.
6. Be very concise
Mentors are usually very busy people, my mentor has her calendar booked for weeks. You need to make sure that you keep your discussion to the point and concise. Even if you meet at a coffee shop or for a drink, remember they aren’t your friend. Use your time with them very wisely and respectfully. This holds true for any relationship. But with mentors, you need to keep a certain level of professionalism and keep it concise.
7. Do what you said you’ll do
Finally, don’t forget to perform the tasks suggested by your mentor. Mentors can only guide you, you are the one who needs to get the work done. Be aware of making excuses, and pushing deadlines. If it is something unavoidable make sure to update your mentor.
Actions always speak louder than words, make sure you are putting in the actual work.
Having a mentor has changed the course of so many careers, including mine. Follow these steps, to find someone who can help you take that leap of faith into a better future.
Just like any long-term relationship, finding an ideal mentor may not happen right away. This relationship needs time and trust too, so make sure you don’t get pushy.
The above steps can help you connect with a few different potential mentors for different areas of your life. Be patient, be clear and use this to grow your network and to share your ideas and aspirations with the world.
TIP: Don’t forget to make meeting minutes for every meeting and a list of takeaways and actions. Always follow up within a couple of days and share the minutes with the mentor.
Subscribe to our blog or email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will send you a FREE MENTOR EMAIL TEMPLATE to reach out to a mentor and a FREE MEETING MINUTES TEMPLATE, that can help keep your discussions organized.