I am delighted to be in this month’s Institute of Directors magazine giving advice on how to find a mentor. If you are looking for a mentor then you can follow the tips below to help you look.
Take some time to consider all your reasons for wanting a mentor before you start looking for one. This way you’ll have a better chance of finding the best match for you and your needs.
Ask yourself the following questions:
What do I need from my mentor? Do I have a specific challenge, issue, or goal that I’d like support with?
How often do I want to meet? Once a week or once a quarter?
Where and when can we meet? Is it in person or on the phone?
Why would someone want to mentor me? What can I do to help them in return?
Will I send an agenda or information before the meeting so they know what I want to discuss?
How long do I want the relationship to last? Is it to achieve a certain goal or for twelve months and then review?
How will I know if the mentoring relationship is successful
How and what can the mentor do to challenge and inspire me?
It is also good to be clear on the difference of a mentor and a business coach. A mentor is more about building a relationship, developing and inspiring you where as a business coaching may focus more on performance, what is currently stopping you achieve your goals and potentially solving an immediate issue.
Once you are clear on what you want from a mentor consider looking for them from two areas – first someone that you haven’t yet met but truly inspired by. The second, someone from your network, that you have built a relationship with and they know how you work. Not everyone will have the capacity to be a mentor so respect their decision if they say no but ask if there is anyone that they recommend and they could introduce you to.
Lastly, you may also wish to consider becoming a mentor yourself as you will learn so much from the experience.