12 Nov 5 Strategies for Finding a Business Mentor
Whether you’re a college grad making your career debut or a seasoned pro with years of experience under your belt, enlisting the advice of a mentor can be invaluable to your future success. So how do you get the most out of a mentorship? Here are five key strategies for finding a business mentor.
1. Research Their Background
Without a doubt, you’ll want to consider your mentor’s professional track record. But don’t be too quick to pick someone with a seemingly flawless resume. Choose a mentor who has demonstrated a lifelong dedication to learning—that is, someone who has failed, picked themselves back up and come out stronger as a result. Your professional (and personal) journey will present an endless learning curve, so take this as an opportunity to uncover a few key methods for overcoming future challenges.
2. Find Connections Through Your Current Network
Finding a mentor can often be the hardest part. If you don’t have access to networking events in your area, or you can’t afford them, start with the people you already know. Reach out to prior colleagues, friends and family to see if they can connect you with a fellow professional they admire and respect. Someone who knows you well may be better positioned to understand your needs, suggest an appropriate resource and perhaps even facilitate an introduction.
3. Acknowledge Where You are in Your Journey
You’ll be doing yourself an injustice if you don’t have the courage to admit where you need the most help. Before you choose a mentor, establish two key things:
- The purpose. Identify the specific challenges you need to overcome at this particular moment in your career.
- The timeline. Determine a reasonable duration for the mentorship, as well as the frequency of face-to-face meetings.
Make sure the mentor you choose can accommodate both of these things. Having a plan in place will help you stay focused and reach your goals while being considerate of your mentor’s time.
4. Allow Yourself to be Vulnerable
While it makes sense to choose a mentor who shares your broad philosophies and values, you’ll have less to gain from someone who is completely like-minded. Seek out an individual who will provide candid feedback and help you identify areas for improvement. Accepting less-than-complimentary feedback might take you out of your comfort zone but is key to experiencing any substantial professional growth.
5. Make It a Two-Way Street
Mentorships are relationships. You may be seeking the help of a mentor with your own needs in mind, but consider the knowledge and skills you can offer in return. A truly valuable mentorship will reflect a healthy level of give-and-take between mentor and mentee. Find subject areas you feel confident in that your mentor may have less experience with. There’s a good chance you possess an area of expertise they would be eager to tap into.
If you’re considering a mentorship to take your career to the next level, finding the right mentor can be half the battle. That said, putting the time and effort into the mentor selection process up front can help to ensure you get the most out of the relationship.
Use the comments section below to tell us about a mentorship you’ve benefited from in the past and how you selected your mentor. What made the relationship such a great fit?
With over 12 years of experience supporting marketing initiatives and creating engaging content for a variety of audiences and industries, Jess Lisbeth has mastered theart of versatility. Her portfolio spans promotional, academic and educational writing and strategizing, including direct mail, advertisements, press releases, whitepapers, blogs, newsletters, and even instructional design.