To understand the role of a mentor in helping with your personal career growth, we would have to study the definition and scope of who a mentor is.
Who is a mentor?
A mentor is someone who can help, counsel, and direct you. They usually take the time to get to understand you and the difficulties you're having before using that knowledge and their own firsthand experience to assist you. Simply put, a mentor is a knowledgeable and reliable advisor. Someone who shares their time with you and guides you on your path to growth. In this case, a career mentor is an experienced person whom you can rely on for counsel and direction as you journey through your career.
Oprah Winfrey once said, “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.”
In this article, we are going to share with you 6 tips on how to find a mentor to help you grow your career.
1. Define your objectives.
Before looking for a mentor, think about articulating your own professional objectives. Consider your short- and long-term goals for career growth prospects. Think about the actions you can take to make your ambitions a reality. With the help of this knowledge, you may strike up a dialogue with possible mentors. This might assist you in locating a mentor who can support you in achieving your goals. This is because by knowing what your personal goals are, you can have an idea of the kind of person you need and would want us a mentor through meet-ups or conversations with them.
For instance, if one of your objectives is to improve your technical skills, you can think about looking for a subject-matter specialist in your area who possesses these abilities. They may give you training opportunities, respond to your inquiries, and recommend other sources for your technological advancement. Connect with a current leader if your career advancement objective is to take on a leadership position.
2. Make the opportunity happen
Don't merely compile a list of contacts and start phoning them while you're thinking about how to find a mentor. Developing relationships is vital to finding a mentor. The majority of people have possible mentors close by, such as coworkers, superior-level executives, or professors from college. But what if you run your own business?
The most common query from business owners is "how to locate a mentor." Think beyond the boardroom without fear. Events for networking opportunities are a great opportunity to meet people who could become mentors. Join a gym close to your town's workplaces or attend a morning yoga session before the workweek starts. You may meet other like-minded professionals by volunteering your event planning or digital media skills.
3. Be self-aware and on the look-out
If you are lucky enough to build a big brand for yourself, a mentor can just walk up to you and let you know that they would like to mentor you. But if you are not too fortunate or now building your brand/career, you would have to be on the lookout for someone who can act as your mentor, which means you would have to be self-aware of who you are, what you want in life/career and the kind of person who you believe can help push you forward. You may not have a particular person in mind but having an idea of what the person is about or the industry they fall into can be of great help.
Some of the things you may want to watch out for include;
In their professional lives, are they doing well?
Do they offer helpful feedback in a way that you can handle?
Do you connect with them because you share something in common?
Is their current network more extensive than yours? Depending on what you want to learn, this may be a personal network, in a single sector, or across a number of industries.
Are they willing, able, and available to help you learn new abilities?
Do you love chatting with them informally and hearing their feedback?
4. Get in touch with a potential mentor
Once you've found a potential mentor, get in touch with them to ask if they'd be prepared to provide you with advice. You shouldn't immediately ask the other individual to be your mentor during this phase since it may seem like too much of an early commitment. Instead, you should just get in touch with them and ask if they'd be open to connecting and talking about potential mentorship opportunities.
You can get in touch with your possible mentor by email or in person. In general, asking in person is the most intimate option, especially when they are taking a break of some sort. If you are unable to meet with them in person, you may write them a semi-formal email outlining your interest in talking with them about the subject at hand and requesting time, even if just for a virtual coffee.
While most individuals are glad to assist, there are times when the prospective mentor is either too busy or just reluctant to do so. If so, express your gratitude for their time and start looking for another mentor.
5. Maintain the connection.
After the first encounter, you should keep in touch with your possible mentor and provide them with periodic updates on your progress in order to foster the connection. Make a point of mentioning how much their guidance has advanced you, and if practical, consider demonstrating to them the tangible results.
Additionally, you may wish to arrange additional sessions with your mentor based on your objectives and their availability. Whatever is genuinely practical for the two of you can be weekly, monthly, or quarterly for these.
6. Know That Mentors Will Likely Change With Your Career
You'll probably discover that you need new mentors to support you when you take on new tasks as you start to gain experience or move into new roles. As your needs and ambitions vary throughout your life and career, you should try to switch mentors. You will benefit from new information and support as a result as you advance in your profession.
Having said that, you shouldn't just ignore your previous teachers. Instead, try to stay in touch with them and assist them whenever you can. For instance, you may have a coffee date with an old mentor or introduce them to another person in your network. You may also think about updating them on your personal and professional life while being sure to express your gratitude.
Developing your career is great but finding someone who believes in you and is willing to share their personal growth tips, and becomes your mentor is even greater as it helps you avoid some mistakes that you may be unaware of. In your request to find a mentor, be self-aware and be willing to put in the work - your success or failure ultimately would depend on your commitment, readiness, and seriousness to push your career forward.
Indeed Editorial Team. ( December 22, 2022). How To Find a Mentor: A Step-by-Step Guide With Tips. Indeed. https://au.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/how-to-find-a-mentor
(n.d.). Finding a mentor. Tony Robbins. https://www.tonyrobbins.com/personal-growth/how-to-get-a-mentor/
Boushy, B. (March, 2022.). How to Find a Mentor in 7 Steps (2023). Upflip. https://www.upflip.com/blog/how-to-find-a-mentor
Rabasca, L. (12/7/2020). 10 Tips for Finding a Mentor—and Making the Relationship Count. The Muse. https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-find-a-mentor
Coursera (November 4, 2022). How to Find a Mentor and Grow Toward Your Goals. Coursera. https://www.coursera.org/articles/how-to-find-a-mentor
D'Angelo, M. (January 23, 2023). How to Find a Mentor. Business News Daily. https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/6248-how-to-find-mentor.html