How to Find the Right Mentor to Help You Grow
A mentor can be an indispensable resource when you begin a new career or are looking to level up your skills. Mentorship can help you gain guidance to reach personal and career goals. First, you should know a few things about mentors and mentorships before beginning.
To find the best mentor, you need to know what you want to gain from the experience. It will also help to know about the different types of mentorships. Always start with a plan and understanding the basics to benefit from the relationship.
What is a Mentor?
A mentor is someone with substantial experience in a particular area. They are willing and able to devote time to helping and teaching others how to get from where they are to where they want to be. A mentor can provide a roadmap to reach personal or career goals. So, knowing what you want to achieve when considering working with a mentor is essential.
Have a clear idea of what you envision as the goal of the mentorship. Then it's time to look for someone with the right skills and experience, usually a step or two above where you are now.
How to Find the Right Mentor
There are many ways to find the right person to coach you to success. However, regardless of which approach you take, always approach it professionally. Assume nothing. Always make sure the other person has the availability for the commitment.
A mentorship requires time from you and your mentor. A good mentor puts a lot into ensuring you get out of it what you need and what they can provide. Remain respectful of your mentor's time and the value they are providing to you.
Some mentors offer their time and skills at no charge. After all, mentorship helps them grow as a professional, too. However, others charge for mentorship and coaching opportunities, and prices vary. So, know what the expectation is before beginning.
Your Personal or Professional Network
Your personal and professional network is a great resource when looking for a mentor to fit your needs. You'll be more familiar with these individuals and will likely know whether they have the skills and experience you're looking for.
Community Business Network
Look within your community, where many great mentorship opportunities are available. Check out our LINC resource page if you decide to go this route. In addition, you'll find a few excellent business coaching opportunities to begin your search.
Don't forget to check with your employer. Many employers today look for ways to develop their employees from within. That might mean pairing up with someone more senior from your department or even someone from another department.
Additionally, some employers have a comprehensive offering of on-site and offsite personal and professional development opportunities.
Finally, there are many personal and professional mentorship opportunities available online. Digital mentoring has been gaining popularity for a while now. You'll find mentors for nearly any skill imaginable, from writing and copywriting to business coaching, entrepreneurship, speaking, and much more.
Mentor Traits to Look For
Once you've narrowed your search, it's time to consider the traits your mentor should have. After all, the best mentors have a few things in common, such as:
- Experience and proven success
- Good character
- Invested in your growth
- Similar values
- Identifies your strengths, needs, and weaknesses
- Listens and shares their own experiences
It can be tough to hear where you fall short, your weaknesses, and where improvement is needed. But remember, your mentor is there to guide you, not berate or belittle you. You gain the strength and skills needed for success by identifying and overcoming those weaknesses.
Types of Mentoring Available
There are a few different types of mentoring.
- One-on-One for a limited period
- Situational for a particular skill
- Developmental for long-term career planning
- Group mentoring for a specific skill
You can benefit from short-term and long-term mentorships in individual and group settings. And chances are, you'll experience a combination of these throughout your career.
Tips to Get the Most from Your Mentor
Regardless of your mentorship type, we have suggestions to help you get the most from your experience.
- Be clear about your goals and the time commitment.
- Ensure it's the right fit before you ask.
- Clarify how the mentor inspires and motivates you.
- Clarify how often you'd like to meet.
- Stay on track with your goals.
- Remain open to feedback.
- Set boundaries and keep it professional.
The Final Word
Finding the right mentor according to your needs and goals isn't hard, but it does take time and careful planning.
First, know your goals and where you're starting from, then find a mentor with the right experience to help you reach those goals.
Next, decide on the type of mentorship you want and what the mentor can provide. Remember, this is a time commitment, so it must work for both of you.
Finally, follow the tips above to get the most out of your mentorship.