- 1. Is having a mentor the right thing for you?
Consider your personal attributes and whether you would be a good mentee because not everyone is suitable. Ask yourself whether you would be someone who you would like to mentor… what are you like to work with on important matters?
What qualities do you think you need to be a good mentee? Are you respectful, willing to work hard, flexible and open to feedback and criticism? In order to succeed in a mentor-mentee relationship, you must be willing to share your thoughts and actions truthfully. If you have any doubts about this, being a mentee is not for you. However, if you can talk openly about what you want in your life, agree on a plan of action and you can meet your agreed deadlines, then the right mentor will accelerate your route to success at lightning speed.
2. Identify Your Mentorship Needs
Why do you think you need a mentor? Have you been trying to achieve something, but you can’t quite get there? Do you want to learn a new skill to help you reach a bigger goal? Do you have a great idea but you’re not sure how to make money from it? Is there something you want to achieve, but you don’t know how to get started? Have you been setting goals just like all the books tell you to, but none of it is working? Or is it that you want some private one-to-one tuition from a real expert?
In order for a mentor to be of any benefit to you, your starting point should be based around “I know what I want, but I don’t know how to get it by myself”. Don’t enter into a relationship with a mentor just to see what happens, (a good mentor would never allow that to happen anyway).
3. What Kind Of Mentorship Do You Want?
A mentor is usually a person who you admire, respect and has already achieved in their life what it is that you want to achieve in your life. When you ask this person to be your mentor, you must not do it lightly, you must understand the enormity of what you are asking because being your mentor is a huge responsibility!
Do you want general guidance, someone to keep you pointing in the right direction, or do you want to achieve something big in your life? Do you want a mentor who’s willing to help in their spare time, or are you willing to pay for a professional mentor?
The choice of whether you need to pay for a mentor or not will largely be determined by your goals and aspirations. If you want guidance at work, to be more competent in your job role, then it’s quite likely that you can find a suitable mentor, and they will be happy to support you. In most cases, they’re being paid at work, they don’t need to raise money to put food on the table, they can spare some time to help you and give you guidance.
However, if you want to achieve big things in your life that you’ve never done before such as writing a book, or making money from an idea you have, then you’re definitely going to need a professional mentor if you are to achieve success. Mentors trade away hours they could use to pursue their own career goals and spend them on someone else’s.
The 3 scenarios you will need to consider are:
- Do I want to learn and discover everything for myself and enjoy the journey. I realise it may be a long and sometimes lonely journey, but this is what I want and I’m happy to read books, watch videos and search the web for everything I need. In this case, I don’t really need a mentor at this stage in my life.
- I know I need a mentor to help me, but I don’t have the money to pay for a professional mentor. I therefore need to ask a trusted friend, a colleague or someone from my personal network.
- I need a professional mentor because I can’t get there alone and I’m happy to pay, but they must be outstanding value, I’m not prepared to waste my money.
Before you ask someone to be your mentor, you want to be sure you’re asking the right person. If you feel confident that the individual you’re planning to ask would have a vested interest in your success, as well as have the time to invest in your growth, the next step is asking them to invest in a mentor-mentee relationship with you. Be mindful that being a mentor is a considerable responsibility.
1. Schedule a meeting
If possible, try to meet with your potential mentor in person rather than asking over email.
2. Explain why you are seeking mentorship
The more clearly your potential mentor understands your needs and expectations, the better. By explaining what you hope to gain from mentorship and offer as a mentee, they can properly assess whether the relationship would be a good fit for them.
3. Explain why you selected them
Explain why you selected them and how much you value their expertise. When you can make a clear case for what you want from a mentor relationship and why you are asking this individual to become your mentor, you are more likely to receive a positive response.
If your potential mentor seems uncomfortable or skeptical, it’s best to step back and keep looking. Even if they want to, they might also simply not have the time or capacity to offer you effective mentorship at that time. A good mentor must be invested and excited for it to be mutually beneficial.
When you’re looking for a business mentor, ideally it’s important for them to be successful in their field and possess the skills needed to help you. The idea characteristics to look for are those of a good trainer or teacher. The right mentor for you will make you feel comfortable and confident quite quickly and you’ll soon know if they’re able to help you.
If you feel like you’re struggling to form a relationship with a potential mentor, it’s best to walk away and search for someone else with whom you can establish a connection; that’s a critical part of the relationship.
When working with your mentor, you should feel comfortable receiving constructive feedback and criticism, and they should feel comfortable giving it. Growth happens when you can identify your strengths and weaknesses, and use the information to learn and be successful to achieve your goals.
After you form a relationship with your mentor, you should maintain it through regular contact. Be clear about your expectations of the relationship, ask questions, request guidance and be specific about what you want. Above all, remember that your mentor doesn’t do your work for you, they’re there to advise you, support you and keep you moving in the right direction.