Concept of mentoring is misunderstood by most of the people. A lot of young people approaching mentors the wrong way. They ask a leader they admire to mentor them, forcing the person into an awkward position in which she/he feels bad for saying “No” or obligated to say “Yes”.
But this is not how mentoring works. And it’s not necessary the people you admire or whoever your “Role models” are will be the perfect mentors for you. Now it’s time to start seeking out a mentor, i.e. A Good Mentor, the right way.
“The modern mentor can elevate both your mind and your career in a way that cannot be taught in school, a boardroom or on a business trip,” said Demetri Argyropoulos, CEO of Avant Global. “For me, mentorship has been an invaluable part of my career growth.”
- Find someone you want to be like: Find someone that is like you, someone with a similar set of strengths and skills you want to emulate. Otherwise, you’ll just end up frustrated. Spend some time finding the right person. In fact, have several candidates before committing to a single mentor.
- Ask right, and be mentor-worthy: “Anyone giving up their time to help you with your professional life and career is going to want to make sure their time is being spent wisely,” says digital strategist Lisa Williams. If you don’t know the person you’re targeting, explain who you are and what you are about.Tell this person why you’ve identified him or her and be thorough about what you want from the relationship and what you envision as the time commitment. Most busy people like order, so being explicit with timing and desired outcomes is more likely to elicit a positive response than a woolly request for a coffee and a chat.
- Choose someone with different perspective: “You won’t learn or grow much unless you face your flaws and ignorance of some of the world around you,” suggests Cedric Chambaz, a marketing manager at Bing Ads. So, try to find a mentor who will challenge your thinking and show you there might be a different way to approach a problem, or an additional potential one you never knew existed.
- Study the person: Follow his blog. Get to know people who know him. If you don’t know the person well, see if he is really like his public persona projects. Make sure you understand his strengths and weaknesses. Set your expectations realistically.
- Let the relationship evolve organically: Mentoring is organic. It’s healthy to let it grow like any other relationship — over time and based on mutual respect and trust. Don’t force it. That will kill a potential mentoring relationship faster than anything. Give it time; it needs to grow.
- Make the “ask”: Don’t ask for the person to “be your mentor” right off the bat. That’s a big ask. Far too big for the first meeting. Rather, ask for an initial meeting — something informal, over coffee maybe. Keep it less than an hour.
- Evaluate the fruit: After meeting, do you want to spend more time with this person? Did she/he begin the meeting by encouraging you or telling you what to do? Did she ask questions, or wait to provide answers? Did you leave the meeting feeling better about yourself? Was a connection made? If not, feel free to let the relationship go and seek out someone else, instead. You don’t have time to waste on a self-centered tyrant. If it went well, then immediately put together a follow-up plan.
These were the few tips to find a “Good Mentor”. Do you have a mentor? How did you find him or her? Share your mentoring experiences with us.