We came across a well written article recently on Inc.com that really hit home— How To Find A Celebrity Mentor. This piece offers some great advice on how to find a mentor — no matter if your goal is to find a celebrity mentor or a business mentor.
The author offered 5 strategies to get what you want when seeking a mentor. We like the strategies and want to share them with our mentor-minded audience.
5 strategies to finding a business mentor:
- Choose your mentor targets-It's a good idea to target more than one individual when seeking a mentor. People are busy, and you don't want to put all of your proverbial eggs into one basket. Also, you may be looking for mentors that can provide you with guidance on different topics. Is there someone in your industry who has achieved great success that you feel you could benefit from a relationship with? How about someone who has overcome challenges similiar to what you are facing? Make a list of folks you would like to target as possible mentor options for you.
- Know what you want-This strategy is extremely important. If you are going to approach someone and ask them to take time out of their schedule to mentor you, it is your responsibility to have a game plan. What is it that you hope to gain from the mentoring relationship: Leadership skills? Growing your professional network? Overcoming hurdles? Make it clear to your prospective mentors that these are the specific strategies that you would like to work on so that he can decide how comfortable they are mentoring you for these skills/attributes.
- Put yourself on the playing field-How do you know your prospective mentor? Is he a business acquaintance? Someone you've worked with in the past? Someone you've heard of but not yet met? Take some time to do a little background research if you do not personally know the individual. Get to know what types of things are important to him to discover common ground. Maybe you are both members of an industry organization? Maybe he travels to Brazil often and hey, so do you. A mentoring relationship can—and should—have an element of personalization.
- Look in your own backyard-How are you going to connect with your prospective mentor? Just sending an email to someone you've never met before may not cut it. Look for connections that the two of you may have and ask for an invitation. LinkedIn is a great tool for this. You may also try to follow the person on Twitter, and re-tweet some of his content (not just for the sake of re-tweeting, though...make sure it is content that you are truly interested in).
- Don't take it personally-Time is priceless. We all know that. Try not to take it personally if your #1 says he just doesn't have the time. Thank him for considering you and be grateful that you at least made the connection. You never know what could happen down the road. Go to your list of targets and ask the next person on your list. Refine your process as you go along and don't give up! Mentors have a lot to gain from a mentoring relationship as well and there are many people who jump at the chance to mentor.
For more information on how mentoring can help to advance your carer, download our free white paper by clicking the button below.