As the American businessman Zig Ziglar once said: "A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could."
So what can you do to find a mentor and build best mentoring relationships?
Here are several tips on fruitful relationships:
Understand why you need a mentor
Ask yourself what you want in a mentor or sponsor. Is it an expert who can help with a specific business challenge, for example? Do you want someone inside your workplace who has the inside track to be an advocate for your project or promotion, or someone who can act as a more general sounding board and big-picture guide?
Find mentors through the inspiring people you're already interacting with – in the office or outside
Look for people, who recognise your potential, who trust in your success and would be willing to invest their time in helping you. Look out for people who are many steps ahead of you in the field of your interest and are doing something you would love to do. And, most importantly, people whom you have a personal connection with.
Some say, that finding a good mentor can be as important to your career as finding a soul mate is to the rest of your life.
Here are some great tips from Kerry Hannon about finding a mentor, and from Judy Robinett about networking that generates amazing results.
Use non-formal approach
The "Will you be my mentor?" invitation can be off-putting. Sounds like way too much work and responsibility. This is an inner endeavor. The main reason most mentors and sponsors say they take the time to counsel and help is the intangible satisfaction they get in paying it forward. Start by simply asking for advice on one action or problem.
Will you be a good mentee?
Are you open, flexible, resilient, respectful? Would you put advice in practice, would you have a discipline to follow-up, can you withstand candid feedback? Be someone, who is actively building own career. Diane Schumaker-Krieg, Global Head of Research, Economics and Strategy at Wells Fargo suggests four principles to make it work.
Proactively build relationships
Relationship is what keeps a mentor-mentee relationship working. Once it becomes obligatory, the benefit to both individuals quickly dissipates.
Show mentor how they can help. Make a specific request when you want someone to speak up on your behalf. Most people don't know where to start to help you.
Give something back. Show your gratitude. Make the relationship reciprocal by serving as a source of information and support for your mentor in some way. It's the proverbial two-way street.
Don't think you have only one mentor
Jane Allen, Chief Diversity Officer in Deloitte, says: "You don't have to hang your hat on just one critical mentor. A mentor could be someone you have coffee with once. And that's okay – and they help you through one thing that you're curious about".
You may have multiple people that have mentored you in different ways. You don't necessarily need one magical person or magic bullet. It can be many mentoring moments, as opposed to a person.
If you need support with organising your life and finding focus in your business, send me a quick note pressing on the button below