Do you know how to select a good mentor?
When you are reaching a goal, be it personal or business, one step to take is to find a mentor. But finding a mentor is more than choosing someone out of thin air, it takes time to choose a good mentor. In addition to ensuring that your mentor shares your convictions and values in life, before selecting your mentor, ask yourself the following questions.
- Do you want specific advice? What do you need the mentor for? Is it business related or personal? You will want to choose a mentor who has experience in the area you need.
- Do you want someone who just listens? Maybe you want someone to just listen to you once a month over lunch or a meeting for coffee. Or maybe you want a weekly soundboard by email or phone. Regardless of how they listen, you just want them to listen. If this is the case, you will need to find someone who is interested and capable of doing so.
- Do you want someone complementary or the opposite of you? Some people thrive in situations where they are challenged by their mentor, others wither under pressure. Be honest about the type of person you are. There is no judgment, right or wrong, but you have to be honest with yourself about the type of person you are in order to find the right mentor for you.
- Do you want a role model? Should your mentor already be where you want to go and just model the behavior that got him there and allow you to observe? Sometimes all we need is access to someone with whom we wouldn’t mind exchanging places.
- Does this person give good advice now? If you are considering a certain person as a mentor, try asking them for advice to see how they handle it before formally approaching them with the idea of mentoring. What do you think of the advice? Not everyone who is successful can advise others on how to repeat their success.
- What can you offer your mentor in return? It is very important that you offer something in return to your mentor, either by showing gratitude or feedback on the suggestions they give you. Also, you may have knowledge in an area that would benefit your mentor, or you might be in a position to introduce them to someone they want to meet.
- Is the person willing to be a mentor? Not everyone wants to be a mentor. Many people will be honored that you have asked and will seize the opportunity to help mold another human being into a successful person. But be prepared if your target is not interested. Whatever happens, it is not personal. Keep looking.
- Do I need more than one mentor? If you have business aspirations in addition to personal aspirations, you may need more than one mentor. For example, if you want to improve your diet and learn how to do better in business, you may need two separate mentors because they are different topics.
Selecting a good mentor takes a little time and consideration. Sometimes women spend more time selecting shoes or accessories than considering who they want to help create their lives. Look at potential mentors objectively, taking into account their skills, availability, and interest, and you’ll be more likely to find a win-win relationship.