Research tells us that mentees are five times more likely to be promoted, and 25% of mentees experience an increase in their salary. The benefits of mentoring are clear, but it’s vital to find the right person for the role.
The research is evident that having a mentor is one of the best things you can do for your career. But, don’t just look for someone who looks successful and hire them off the back of their reputation. Instead, get prepared, do your homework, and let this 5-step guide to finding a mentor work its magic.
Determine your WHY of mentoring
You know you need a mentor – now it’s time to ascertain your personal why. Why do you want a mentor? Do you want to…
- Advance in your career?
- Fast track to a new position?
- Learn the dynamics of your industry.
- Develop new skills or competencies?
- Improve your performance?
- Build your network.
- Get out of a rut?
- Rediscover job satisfaction?
- Returning from extended leave?
- Start a new job?
Give yourself space to think about where you are now and where you want to go. It’s your WHY that will drive your process and help you identify the right mentor for your needs.
Realise WHAT you would like to know
From here, articulate three questions that you would like a mentor to answer based on your personal ‘why’.
Consider what questions you may need answering to get from point A to point B. How can a mentor best help in any career transition or exploration?
Set your intentions clearly.
Know WHO to reach out to
You have the facts and now it is time to do some research. If you want your request to be taken seriously, it’s important that you and your potential mentor have something in common. Don’t base your choice on seniority because that isn’t enough for either of you.
Based on who you know and some research on Google or LinkedIn, who is the best person to answer those questions?
- Who has achieved what you hope to achieve?
- Do your personal and professional values seem to align?
- Who has faced the challenges you are facing, such as returning to work after maternity leave?
- Will they challenge you and hold you accountable?
- Do you believe your personalities will match?
Create an extensive list of your ideal mentors and what you have in common. Look beyond your boss! It doesn’t hurt to dream, does it? Don’t be put off if someone is not available. You can always readdress the list later as you continue to assess your needs throughout your career.
Understand HOW to connect with a mentor
Reach out to your preferred mentor/s via email with an explanation of why you have chosen them. Nobody wants to be selected at random or just because they have a great resume. Show that you’ve done your research by commenting on their work and showing how it ties in with your goals. Sell yourself.
It’s important to note that you don’t have to ask for a mentoring relationship up front. Sometimes that can frighten away people who are time-poor. Instead, invite them for a coffee or lunch where they can share their insights into something you have in common. This is also a great way to test the water to see how you get along before either of you commits to anything further.
Remember – mentoring is never just about one person. Before you approach anyone, think about what you can offer in return. If you can’t think of anything, don’t be afraid to ask the person what they’d like from you in return.
You CAN do this
The hardest part has been tackled. You’ve got this. Now commit to the mentor and work as hard as you can to tick off those unique business goals and develop your relationship. It’s the relationship which matters. Do what you say you will and show your growth and successes to the person who has helped you achieve them.
Don’t drop the ball or rest on your laurels. It’s time to be proactive and takes responsibility for your career.
The impetus for successful mentoring needs to start with you.