If your company does not have a formal mentoring program, this does not mean you can’t find a suitable business mentor within or outside your company. Finding a business mentor is an important strategic decision; therefore you want to take the time needed to explore the right mentor for you.
Here are 5 strategies for you to consider when finding a business mentor:
1. Ask yourself the following questions in order to identify the type of person you are looking for in a mentor:
- What do I want to learn from a mentor (leadership skills, communications skills, business development, etc.)?
- Where do I want to be in my career in the next 1-3 years or 3-5 years?
- What kind of personality traits am I looking for in a mentor? Examples: Sociable, professional, knowledgeable, educated, experienced, etc.
- What other things are important for me in a mentor? For example, is their availability important to me? How often would I like to meet with my mentor (once a month, once a quarter, etc.)?
- Am I looking for a mentor that is nearby or would I consider an online mentoring relationship?
2. Once you have answered some of these questions, try to write out a brief summary of what you are looking for in a mentor. For example, “I am looking for a mentor who is in the financial industry and who has 5-10 years experience managing a department--specifically in accounting--and is someone who is sociable, dependable, has good time management skills, and thinks outside the box. I am hoping that that person will agree to have contact with me on a monthly basis for 60-90 minutes.”
3. Armed with this summary, make a list of everybody you know that fits that particular description. Or start contacting people that you know asking them who they know using your summary as a way to start the conversation.
4. Once you have your list, pick the top 3. Make contact and invite them to lunch. Let them know that you have been referred to them because of their expertise and knowledge and you want to spend a little time with them asking them about how they developed their career.
5. When you have found the one that you believe is the mentor for you, contact them and ask them if they would consider being your mentor and specify what you are looking for saying something like “I really enjoyed our conversation the other day. I wanted to ask you if you would consider being my mentor because I feel I would benefit greatly from your expertise and knowledge. I wonder if you would consider having lunch once a month initially.”
Having done the homework hopefully your efforts will pay off and the response will be a positive one. You have now defined the type of person you hope to find in a mentor. Once you have found one, you and your mentor will want to conduct the same type of exercise to determine what you would like to accomplish in your mentoring sessions. For more information on putting together a detailed mentoring plan, please feel free to download our FREE resource, Creating A Successful Mentoring Relationship: Training, Tips, and Tricks.Image Credit: © Alain Lacroix | Dreamstime.com