Having a mentor in your career is a game-changer. Mentorship can be seen as a relationship that is meant to be built and maintained. Mentors can share their wisdom and experiences with you so you can have direct guidance from someone who has ‘been there’ and ‘done that. Keep reading or watching to learn how to find a mentor in your career.
How to Find a Mentor in Your Career (4 Easy Steps)
If the thought of reaching out to somebody and asking, “Will you be my mentor?” frightens you as much as it did in your high school prom days, don’t worry as this is the same exact process that hundreds of my clients have followed to get exactly what it is that they want. I’m breaking down 4 easy steps to follow so you can land a mentor in your career.
RELATED: How to Network Like a Boss
Step 1: Get very specific on what you admire about this person
Out of the seven billion people out there on this planet, what is it about this one person that makes you wish that they could be your mentor? Perhaps, for example, it’s somebody you’ve previously worked with and you really admire their work ethic. Or maybe it’s a former boss of yours and you really appreciated all of the direct and honest feedback. Maybe it’s somebody you’ve never met before, but you’ve read a ton of their articles online or you’ve been watching them on YouTube and you really admired everything that they have had to say. Better yet, when you implemented some of what they taught in the past, your life had drastically changed. Get specific and get detailed on why having this person serve as your mentor would be a dream come true for you! The more detailed you are and the more targeted you are in your genuine compliments, the more likely that person is going to be able to reciprocate.
Step 2: Define what you want out of this mentorship
Get clarity on what it is you’re hoping to get out of this mentorship. When you can share your clear goals, the other person has a better understanding of your needs and this allows them to set up realistic expectations. Mentorship is a commitment from both parties. If you are going to ask someone to provide their time, energy, and knowledge, it’s really important to show that you are taking this relationship seriously and not for granted. When you meet with mentors make sure you take their advice and move into action.
For example, if one of your goals is to ask your previous boss to mentor you to become a better manager because you really admired their management style… it may be helpful to start with just that one question. And as you start to absorb all the information and really take to heart what they’re sharing with you and you actually are starting to implement it, you can share your results with this person or any of the challenges that you’re facing during this implementation process. When they see that you’re really taking to heart whatever it is that they’re sharing with you, that will ultimately lead to an organic relationship where that mentorship just starts to blossom and take off from there.
Comment below with a goal that you hope to achieve with the help of a mentor.
Step 3: Make the clear ask
A lot of you might be a little terrified of making this ask because it’s the part where you need to be bold and really step into that. But just know that with steps one and two, (especially step one of sharing what you admire about this other person) – providing that compliment will make this whole process a whole lot easier. And just know that when you ask somebody to be your mentor, oftentimes they’re really flattered.
Putting it altogether, you simply want to share what it is that made you decide, “I really want you to be my mentor.” Again, get as specific and detailed as possible. Step two, share exactly is it that you hope to gain out of this mentorship. You can also really share why you believe this is a perfect fit. The more concise, the more direct you are… the better!
Just know that oftentimes if you’re feeling a little bit icky about this still, people love helping others. There’s a lot of studies that show that people feel really fulfilled when they’re able to serve as a mentor or a benefit to somebody else.
Step 4: Follow up with a smile
It’s really, really important that no matter what the answer is – even if it’s a flat out, “No, I’m unable to mentor you,” – you follow up with a smile. Because you never know what is happening on the other person’s end. They could be extremely busy, they could be extremely swamped. This really may not be the right time at this moment, but it doesn’t mean that that has to be the answer a year from now or even six months from now.
Because it’s a small world, always be positive, leave it on a positive note and share, “Thank you so much for your consideration. I hope that our paths will cross again soon in the future.”
And if they said, “Sure!”… then perfect! Lock down that next step of when is it that you would be meeting. Having a clear call to action at the end of any conversation is helpful so it doesn’t linger into the, “Maybe whenever I see you I’ll see you,” space. And if you don’t get a response right away, that’s okay, too. People are often busy and you can send a quick nudge or a little reminder email one week later to see if they had a chance to review your request.
If it’s in person and they said “I need to think about it.” You might say, “Would it be okay if I followed up with you in one week?”
Remember: Mentors are everywhere
Mentors are extremely helpful to help you grow in your career and I often encourage you to have at least three mentors so that you can gain different perspectives in all of the different components of your life and your career that you’re going to inevitably face.
I also want to emphasize that mentors are literally everywhere. This means if you’ve ever wanted Elon Musk or Bill Gates as your mentor, then guess what? They have written books, they are often interviewed, and they often share their best advice out there in either podcasts, books, interviews, articles. So definitely start digging and devouring the people that you really admire that you wish you could speak to. Most likely they have something published out there already.