How to find a mentorReflect on whether mentoring is the right option. Explore other options for finding a mentor. Know your objectives (both short term and long term). What do you want to achieve professionally in the next three months? Can you do it in your current position or will you need to change jobs? The more specific you are with your goals, the easier it will be to find the right mentor.
One strategy for creating effective and easy-to-achieve objectives is to work INTELLIGENTLY, which means that your objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-limited. Here's a tip sheet on how to create your own SMART goals. Ask yourself who you admire. What job would you like to have in the next five, 10 or 15 years? Is this person inside or outside your workplace? Who is your immediate role model in the workplace? Keep an updated list of the jobs and people you're viewing.
Consider hiring an identity-based mentor in your organization, especially if you need to talk about the problems you face as an underrepresented person in your professional environment. A great mentor can help you start your career, develop your skills and define your professional brand. Another practical approach is to analyze the inside of the organization. Check with your human resources department or professional development office to see if your company has a mentoring program.
You can also ask friends, colleagues, or people in your professional network for referrals if they know someone who could be a good mentor for you. If you're a student or recently graduated, consider consulting the career counselor's department. Workers (44 percent) reported that they had never had a mentor, according to a survey by the Nazarene University of Olivet. The most important characteristic of a professional mentor is their willingness to give back and invest time and energy to help others succeed.
Mentoring is a way to hone professional skills and learn invaluable lessons from someone with years or decades of practical knowledge in their field. Be responsive and timely in your communications and, when setting meeting times, be willing to adjust the nature and frequency of meetings based on the schedule and availability of your mentor. If your manager doesn't invest time in you, doesn't give you advice, or act as your advocate, look for a mentor elsewhere. A mentor can help you succeed in your journey, whether you've recently graduated and are looking for guidance and advice for navigating the vocational landscape or an experienced professional looking for new perspectives, ideas and opportunities as you move forward in your career.
Before the meeting, think about what you want to achieve and what specific topics of the mentor meeting you would like to receive advice and support. Follow up on any action items or recommendations discussed during your meetings and report their progress to your mentor. Behaving professionally and respectfully during the meeting helps establish a positive and productive relationship with your mentor. While your mentor may be happy to give you advice, it's essential that you think of ways to show appreciation and be available to him.
If you're on the other side of the relationship and want to become a better mentor, focus on communicating and listening, making successful constructive criticism, and practicing empathy. Ask your boss or someone else to introduce you to potential mentors you haven't met who work at your company, Morgan suggests. When meeting with a professional mentor, it's important to be prepared with a list of questions to help guide the dialogue. True leaders make great mentors, and being a mentor is a way to further improve your leadership skills.
Once you've identified a potential professional mentor, reach out to them and explain why you're interested in working with them. If you're thinking of seeking mentoring, read on to learn how to find a professional mentor and how they can play an essential role in helping you achieve your professional goals.