Mentors are a growing need in the business world: 74% of hiring managers said that it is preferable for potential candidates to have or have had a mentor or a counsellor. Despite this, only 40% of unemployed job seekers report having a mentor.
A Mentor can come from a number of places; they could even be your parents! However there are many areas to source potential mentors, an old boss that you respected for example or a colleague that has excelled in their career. Your local chamber of commerce or business organisation is also a bountiful source for high ranking mentors, because they’re full of professionals that want to be involved in the community. Don’t underestimate social media platforms when looking for a mentor either – LinkedIn is a notorious spot for businessmen and women to connect.
To gain a mentor you need to approach them in a professional manner and earn their respect. This requires research: You need to know what this person has done in their life, all information you find on your potential mentor will prove to be invaluable points of conversation, whether it be about work or their hobbies. Once you feel comfortable that you know enough about them, you’re ready to make contact.
There are a number of valid reasons for contacting a potential mentor through e-mail or direct message. Even something as simple as explaining that you saw them and didn’t have time to introduce yourself. The important thing is to start a conversation and begin to build a rapport.
Once the contact has acknowledged you, you need to make your intentions clear, you want to let them know early on that you are looking for someone who could provide guidance in your career. It’s important to get to know the person in order for them to care that you’re looking for a mentor. Ask them intelligent questions surrounding their work – what projects they might be investing their time into.
As your conversations continue, begin to filter in your career goals and the plan you have to achieve those goals – ask for their opinion. From here you can begin to discuss what is being done presently to achieve these goals, this will show your mentor that you’re driven and dedicated to succeed.
Once the mentor has agreed to help you in your endeavours, you’ll need to formally create a mentoring schedule with that person. This should include regular check-ins, sometimes monthly that will provide a structure to the relationship.
Read more on mentoring and finding a mentor:
Mentors are incredibly valuable – both to individuals and organisations. They help navigate career paths, give individual’s skills and confidence to succeed, and also facilitate the gathering and sharing of experiences and ideas.
Careers are getting bumpier. The speed of change in most organizations makes the traditional career pathways less obvious and sometimes blocked. Here are a number of ways that you can try and keep your career moving along healthily and see your career work for yourself as a foundation stone to a happy and fulfilling life.
The world of business is very challenging these days. Companies are being put under extreme pressure to satisfy shareholders, employees are been squeezed to the maximum in terms of performance. It is easy to just put your head down and “just get on with it”.
The American poet Robert Frost “I am not a teacher but an awakener”. Someone who’s being mentored expects to gain knowledge so being awakened is a good start for them, what with knowledge coming to those who are alert and aware of what’s going on around them. As a mentor, you can be someone’s awakener, in addition to awakening yourself.