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Finding the Right Mentor


Tags:  Career advice, Management, Career strategies, Job counseling, Mentor

Having a mentor can go a long way in providing an employee guidance and counseling, exposure to plumb assignments and access to key people both within and outside an organization. However, finding just the right person to act as mentor is vital.

 

First, let's look at what a mentor does. A mentor is someone who has an interest in helping an employee succeed and be the best at their chosen profession. A mentor is generally a seasoned professional that acts as an advisor or COACH, and who will

COMMUNICATE
Talks in plain, simple language about business, industry and your career, and answers your questions.

OVERSEE

Follows your growth and development to ensure that you are on the right path to success without telling you what to do.

ADVISE

Provides guidance when you're faced with choices, and points out different views so you can make intelligent decisions.

CELEBRATE

Acts as your cheerleader by rallying you on to victory and supports you in times of disappointment.

HELP

Helps in taking your career wherever you want to go as well as in avoiding pitfalls.

 

While in many instances mentorships happen as a natural course of doing business, sometimes it is incumbent on an individual to take a more active approach. Finding the right mentor is a matter of establishing expectations and then seeking out the person who can best offer support and assistance. 

 

Identify purpose. A potential mentee must begin by determining what they want from the mentoring relationship and how much time will be involved. Next, they should decide what they are ready to give to the relationship. Finally, they need to lay out their plan and how it will work.

 

Identify what's in it for them. Would-be mentors are most receptive to people who ask good questions, listen well to responses and demonstrate that they are eager for advice and counsel. The mentor needs to feel they are getting something back, even if it is just the gratification of helping another person. They'll want to work with someone they see has potential and that they can respect. They might even see a little bit of themselves in the mentee.

 

Identify where to find a mentor. Know where to look. Some companies and professional organizations have formal mentoring programs employees can join. Schools and churches, a close friend or a friend of the family may offer potential mentors. A friend or co-worker may know someone.

 

Identify potential mentors. Once a mentee knows where to look, she needs to develop a list of potential mentors within each of these segments. Keep in mind a mentor is typically someone in a position the mentee aspires to one day. They are generally individuals who have more experience, have clout and connections and can provide tips and guidance on business and the workplace.  It is important to look for someone they admire and that they are comfortable approaching with their request. The mentee should determine who on the list would fit best with her career goals and talk with them in a professional manner. 

 

Remember: finding the right person to act as a mentor is a matter of putting a little time and effort into the process from start to finish.

 


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