Think about what type of mentor you want. Do you want a senior experienced person or a young leader? After all, you are seeking someone you can have a great conversation with. Don’t just go with the big names. Industry gurus might be good mentor candidates, but they might not be the best one for you. Look for someone who shares your values and is compatible with you in terms of personality, communication style or interest.
Step 2: Search for a mentor
After identifying your goal and the type of mentor you want, it’s time to look for the right person. Start with your current company. Some companies have their own mentoring programs. You can also choose someone in your company that you admire and contact them on your own.
Many industry associations offer free mentor-mentee programs for their members, such as International Association of Business Communicators and Public Relations Society of America. At professional conferences or networking events where a large number of industry practitioners are present, there is also a great chance to find people to be your mentor.
Have you thought about social media? LinkedIn, for instance, is a perfect social platform to find potential mentors. Since you can see a person’s professional experience and work history on the LinkedIn profile, it becomes easier to identify someone you like.
Look to your network and search from the people you have known. It could be your childhood friend, college classmate, or even your older family member or your neighbor.
Step 3: Secure a mentor
When you find an ideal person to be your mentor, ask smartly. Don’t just open up with the “will you be my mentor?” invitation. Be sincere and first explain why you want a mentor and why that person is the perfect fit, as well as what you expect out of the mentorship.
It’s also a good idea to begin with some casual conversations or meet up a few times until you feel comfortable with the person. Once you build a closer relationship, it would be easier to bring up your request on the mentorship.
If you get rejected by a potential mentor, don’t take it personally. It might be they are just too busy. Thank them for their time and move on to the next one.
Step 4: Start a mentorship
Once you secure a mentor, you and mentor can sit together and make a concrete mentoring plan. Make sure to set a mutual goal of the mentorship, and discuss in details of how the mentorship work. Scheduling a regular meeting time. Also, keep in mind that mentoring can take a variety of forms, including a monthly formal meeting, weekly phone call, or lunch meetings, etc. Talk with your mentor to find the best way that works for both of you.
Once the mentorship starts, be truthful and show your appreciation of any advice your mentor offers. Also, be open-minded and don’t be afraid to give feedbacks if you feel anything needs be improved. Maintain a positive attitude and a healthy relationship with your mentor throughout the mentorship will surely benefit you and your career life in the long run.