The Harvard Business Review recently published a study that showed that people with mentors are better performers, advance up the career ladder faster and have more work satisfaction along with more life satisfaction.
The report also said that most people don’t know how to find a mentor. Others have pondered this hurdle as well and a number of solutions are suggested for finding a mentor that fits one’s particular need, profession and/or field of interest.
- Get Self-Clarity on the Your Mentorship Needs
If you haven’t already, make a list of your professional goals and think about what you must accomplish to make those goals a reality. When you have clarity on this, you can look for mentors who have “been there, done that.” A person who has already achieved what you want to is a perfect fit as a mentor to you.
- Makes a List of Potential Mentors
Before you approach anyone and ask to be his or her mentee, make a list of potential candidates based on what you believe they have to offer you. Look toward people that are ahead of you and advanced in their level of professional growth compared to your own status. On your list might also be people who are retired from a successful career in your field.
- Make the Approach
Once you have identified the person you want as a mentor, do this professionally. Schedule a meeting with your candidate and set apart a time when you can discuss your request with him or her. It’s better to approach in person than with an e-mail.
Second, explain why you have selected them for a mentorship request. This will help the other person make an assessment about whether they have the right stuff you’re looking for. They need to understand your needs and expectations.
Third, in your meeting, make a clear case for why they should take you on as a mentee and why you believe your selection of them is a reasonable idea. Remember that a mentor needs to be enthusiastic about taking on a mentee. You must be ready to demonstrate there will be real benefits in taking you on.
- Be a Good Mentee
It’s important to honor your mentor and be patient when he or she offers constructive criticism. You have to be ready to listen and accept the wisdom and guidance you are being offered. That doesn’t mean slavish, unquestioning devotion. A mentor is a teacher -– and not a guru.