By: TSP Blog | @TSProckstars
We’ve all heard that mentoring is a great way to kickstart new waves of success at work, but if you don’t already have a mentor, finding one can be daunting. Whether you have someone in mind already or have no clue of where to begin, these tips will help you match up with the right person.
GO WITH SOMEONE YOU KNOW
Sometimes companies or business programs pair mentors and mentees, and teaming with a stranger through an organized program often works well. However, if you’re looking for a mentor on your own, it’s not a good idea to ask a stranger. Mentoring is a big investment for both parties, and it’s not something to take lightly. If you ask a complete stranger to mentor you out of the blue, they’re unlikely to say yes — even if they do, you have no idea what you’re getting into.
WHAT IF I DON'T KNOW OF ANYONE I WANT?
You may not know anyone who makes an obvious mentor, but don’t give up. Maybe your favorite potential mentor doesn’t have time, or maybe you can’t think of anyone you’re excited enough to learn from. Try asking great people who inspire you for a recommendation instead. When people know you well and have seen your proven strengths, determination and reliability, they’re likely able to suggest someone specific who can help you achieve goals and make great choices.
BE CLEAR ABOUT EXPECTATIONS
When talking to potential mentors, know what you’re looking for out of the partnership. What exactly do you hope to learn or gain? If you’re not clear in the beginning about what you want most, could end up with someone who can’t deliver what you’re looking for — you’ll both be disappointed.
GO WITH YOUR GUT
As you meet with potential mentors, be honest with yourself about personal feelings. Some people are easy to click with right away, but others may strike you as a poor fit. To get great guidance, you have to feel comfortable enough to be honest and open. If you’re not at ease or someone just doesn’t feel right, listen to that instinct and keep searching.
KNOW WHAT YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE
Mentoring is a big commitment, and it shouldn’t be a one-way street. When someone mentors you, they offer wisdom and knowledge that can only come from experience. Prove you're worthy of their attention by continually demonstrating your skill level, commitment to taking on new responsibilities, active participation, and encouragement of success in others. Listen for opportunities to help your mentor so your relationship can be balanced, even it’s through paying it forward by mentoring someone else.