Navigating your career and developing your potential to its fullest can be challenging, especially if you undertake this daunting task alone. That’s where a mentor can make a difference - here’s how to find someone that can both guide and challenge you:
Consider what type of guidance you’re looking for
Finding a mentor is pointless without first knowing exactly what sort of mentorship you need. Start by listing down the requirements you are looking for in a mentor. Reassess this from time to time – your needs may evolve as you pass through different stages of your career.
Perhaps you’re just starting out and are looking for an industry veteran to set career goals with. Or you might be in a newly promoted role, looking for a senior to help you tackle the unfamiliar challenges you face with upper management. Whatever the reason, this process takes time so don’t rush it.
Find those who are invested in your success
Now it’s time to find a mentor that matches what you’re looking for. Taking a step back, make sure that this person has witnessed your potential and is willing to commit to your success.
A mentor who believes in you, knowing you value their input and feedback, is more likely to vouch for your success and gratification, no matter your profession. Remember, a forced mentor-mentee relationship never yields positive results.
Build your support network
The best place to start is within your own company. Arrange for a coffee or lunch with experienced leaders you wish to learn from. Many mentors look out for initiative as a sign that you’re committed to learning. In these informal interactions, come prepared with questions that show you are interested in your own progression, and be confident in asking for help where needed.
Of course, you can also expand your connections by joining external networking groups or industry support groups. These gatherings are great platforms for seeking advice and learning from industry best practices, and are opportunities to get to know potential mentors.
And finally, prove that you’re mentor-worthy
To make the most of your mentor-mentee relationship, be proactive! Ask your mentor for more responsibility and always be the first to initiate contact or consult them for advice. Be sure to prepare specific ideas on how you can contribute in deeper, more expansive ways. This shows that you are forward-thinking, and will gain your mentor’s vote of confidence.