Looking for a mentor? 2017 is your year to seek out a mentoring relationship that will make the year meaningful for you and improve your skill sets at the same time.
But, how do you identify and secure a mentor who will contribute in an effective way to your growth and development?
Follow these 6 Tips on Identifying a Mentor
1. Identify what you specifically want to learn about. What are the missing pieces in your professional life? What skills can be improved upon or what skills do you feel unsure of? Make a list and write down at least 3, but not more than 5.
2. What have you done to improve these skills? Write down what you have personally done, schooling, self-study, volunteer work, previous mentoring. Try to detail the deficiencies you still feel are evident.
3. Consider who you know that could provide insight to the skill sets you want to learn more about (see #2). If you don’t know anyone, ask close friends or colleagues in your network who they might know and ask for a personal introduction to the expert.
4. Prepare an outline of the skill sets you want to learn more about and be prepared to discuss “why” it is important for you to learn about this particular skill. What do you expect to accomplish when you have learned or mastered this skill? Include one sentence on what will be different when you have mastered this skill set.
5. Schedule a meeting with your prospective mentor. Bring your outline and provide an overview of what you want to learn about so that your prospective mentor can better understand what the focus of the mentorship will entail. Your outline will also provide a roadmap for discussions so that the time spent will be more effective and focused on what you want to learn.
6. Ask the mentor for introductions to other subject matter experts, don’t rely on one person to impart all the knowledge you need. Differing perspectives are the stepping stones to higher understanding of a particular topic.
Once you successfully identify a mentor, consider meeting with them once a month for an hour. This will provide a framework for your mentoring relationship without overwhelming you or your prospective mentor.
The Perfect Time to Find a Mentor
January is National Mentoring Month, so there is no better time to get started! Use the tips above to begin your journey and remember to reach out to someone else and offer the gift of mentoring.
Paying it forward is the responsibility of every mentee; become part of the ripple effect and impact someone else in a positive way.