How to Find a Mentor
Some of the best and most successful advice for young entrepreneurs is actually to find a mentor. It’s fair enough after all, it is really good advice, especially having a professional mentor relationship as a young entrepreneur is such a great idea.
A mentor is basically a trusted adviser, a reliable teacher who a young aspiring entrepreneur can turn to for critical advice and also receive invaluable information, tailor made specifically to their individual business and industry situation.
There are several steps you can take to ensure you find the right mentor for your individual needs.
Firstly, as with anything else, in order to make sure that you find the right mentor, you must know what to look for. In this respect you will need to make sure that you are looking at a whole range of different things.
But do you really need a mentor?
Mentors can be very beneficial, especially for new entrepreneurs and young ones. Working with a mentor has many benefits.
This gives you a fresh perspective from a veteran or professional.
This is as essential as it is obvious. It’s a great business opportunity to learn from an older, wiser, and more experienced person, no matter if you are just starting your first business or have been working on it for a while.
It’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture as we get caught up in the daily grind of work life. A mentor can help us to see our career and grow from a different perspective.
For instance, do you want to have periodic contact with your mentor? Is your mentor an individual with whom you can develop long term professional relationships?
If so, then there are many different options available for you in terms of finding the right mentor, but for those seeking a relationship with a mentor on a more regular basis you may need to search for someone who meets these criteria.
In addition to seeking out a mentor who has expertise in your industry, experience in your field and areas of expertise, you should also seek out a mentor who is highly experienced in your field.
This is because experienced professionals are likely to have developed processes which ensure that you maximize your potential and learn from mistakes, as well as benefiting from their own past experiences.
In many ways, mentoring is like taking a course. You learn a lot, and in return your mentor teaches you even more.
It goes along to say that if your mentor is an experienced professional, they will likely be in the best position to assess not only your own learning ability, but the skills of your team or work place, and therefore help you identify areas for improvement.
So, how to find a mentor is a matter of looking for someone who is both experienced and qualified, and who has the respected and are esteemed leaders within a similar but more successful organization than yours.
Do your research. While you may not be able ask them to mentor you, what are the steps to reach someone in a similar situation? Note the steps that led to them getting to where they are today.
Take note of your existing networks.
Mentoring you, will be more efficient if they are more knowledgeable about your work and capabilities. Consider whether you have someone who is mentoring you informally or otherwise.
If so, can you ask them for help? Look for connections if someone doesn’t know about your work or has never spoken to you. You should ensure that the person you are considering has the similar expertise as you.
Be aware of the differences between a mentor or a sponsor. Mentors can give advice but cannot give you a job, raise, promotion, or other assistance. Sponsors, on the other hand, can help youon these particular matter.
Sponsors can act as a boss, recruiter or employer in a new field. Mentors are not sponsors. However, they can help you connect with sponsors. Mentors are often long-term while sponsors are mostly short-term.
Prepare a pitch.
Be clear about your goals and why this mentor is right for you. You should be open about your commitments, how much you are willing to give up and what you expect of them.
Communication will flow easily if you are clear about your expectations from the beginning. This elevator pitch can be practiced with others before you ask the mentor.
Be sure to check that it is the right match before you deliver your pitch.
Particularly if you have never met, mention what you enjoy about the person’s work. Imagine your boss introducing you to a mentor. Research the work of the mentor. Next, share what you love about the mentor’s work. This will demonstrate that you are thoughtful and always pick aspects that are genuine.
Find someone with Similar values
Doña Storey, an OPEN Mentorship Institute mentor and American Express OPEN advisor on procurement, stated that a mentor who is in your same business as you can better understand your company’s problems and concerns.
However, Storey also said that mentoring relationships are not always necessary to be within the same industry. Perhaps leadership philosophy is more important.
Storey stated, “Ensure that your mentor has the same values in leadership and management.” Before you can enter into a mentoring relationship, it is important to know who you are as leader.
Be committed to the process
Mentoring is not possible in one summer. that’s called an internship. Mentoring requires real time and real work.
You must be committed to the mentoring relationship in order to make it a true mentorship. You’re going to make it work, no matter what.
You will then understand what it means to be a student or a disciple, or a protege.
Only then will you be able to align yourself with the right mentor.
Are you a mentor or a mentee? Comment on how you discovered your mentor or mentee?