Caela Farren, Ph.D., defines mentorship in her essay Eight Types of Mentor: Which Ones Do You Need as “a learning and development partnership between someone with vast experience and someone who wants to learn.” What is Human Resource.com expands on this by adding, “The mentor is responsible for providing support to, and feedback on, the individual in his or her charge.”
As this article by Coach.me states, “A mentor offers the value of their own experience but is not professionally trained at helping you change or succeed. That’s what separates a mentor from a coach.”
How to Find a Mentor
Here are a couple of tips on how you can discover mentors, and keep up with and sustain those connections.
Request that first meeting.
76% of individuals say that mentors are significant, however, just 37% really have one. Why the gap? I would say, this is on the grounds that the vast majority are hesitant to request that underlying gathering. The dread of dismissal is genuine and it’s significantly more intensified during this pandemic.
Connecting with somebody you appreciate, yet who you may not know so well — particularly if that individual is more senior than you — is somewhat scarier than it was the point at which you could nonchalantly stroll by their work area, chance upon them in the passage, or talk face to face during a systems administration occasion.
To ease the heat off of yourself and facilitate the dread, advise yourself that the individuals you appreciate have likely had different mentors for the duration of their lives who have assisted them with getting to where they are today and would seize the chance to help other people similarly. Assuming you need to associate with them, start with a straightforward inquire: a speedy 15 to 30-minute virtual short breather.
The most ideal approach to connect is typically sending a short email. Offer a couple of things you respect about their work, then, at that point disclose to them a little about yourself, why you’re connecting, what you might want to gain from them, and wrap it up with your inquire:
I’ve read a lot about the incredible work you’ve been doing with Y. I’m keen on building my profession in innovation and I’d love to hear how you rose from a (job title) to a (specialized job title) in five years. Can we have a quick call at (mention time, ideally with a week’s window)?
The first meeting can be in person or a short video call, is not a huge commitment for your target mentor. It will also offer you a chance to understand them better, measure your connection, and check whether they’d be an ideal choice for you.
Focus on growing the relationship.
Take the opportunity to truly associate with your target mentor.
Become more acquainted with them: Think of your first in-person meeting or virtual call as a chance for furthering the easygoing discussion. Recollect that you’re both as yet feeling each other out, so don’t simply zero in the conversation on work.
Ask your potential mentor what they like to do at the weekends, what books they like to peruse, for sure leisure activities they’re keen on. The vast majority will be excited to enjoy a reprieve from their chaotic workdays and interface on an individual level. This sort of discussion additionally allows you both an opportunity to check whether you share a common ground based on shared interests.
Towards the end of the first meeting, it’s proper to raise questions about your profession. Have them talk about the spaces in which you’d prefer to develop your career path. As you wrap up the call, sum up the guidance they’ve given to show that you esteem their info.
Send a card to say thanks: After your first meeting, circle back to a thank you email at some point around the same week. In your message, share a couple of key things you mastered during the discussion, and let them realize you’d prefer to follow up in half a month:
I adored finding out about your climb in Thailand and all the brilliant food you attempted en route. I figure I may go to the Thai café close by and check the cooking out. I was likewise amazed to hear that you taught yourself how to code through online courses. That is such an inspiration! In case it’s alright with you, I’ll get in contact in half a month.
A great many people might be occupied, so don’t be frightened in the event that it takes them a couple of days to react.
Follow up: Three to five weeks subsequent to sending the thank you message, follow up to tell your potential mentor what you did based on the topics you talked about in that first meeting.
Then, inquire as to whether they would get together again inside the next two or three weeks. Don’t send a plan. Maybe, attempt to keep your tone and ideas easygoing. Great pioneers and mentors like a more relaxed environment. The fact of the matter is to make an air that is agreeable for both of you — not plan one more work meetings.
That said, it can be helpful to note down things that you’d like to discuss and share them in your email when reaching out:
I finally got down to reading that book and I have to say, I can’t believe I didn’t read it sooner. What a great story of grit and determination. Thank you for recommending it.
I was planning to take a course in creative writing from Y institute. Are you familiar with it? Maybe we can discuss this during our next catch-up? I know you’re very busy, but let me know if you’d have time to meet up in the next couple of weeks. I’d really appreciate it.
Usually, after three to four meetings, you’ll have a good idea of how your potential mentor is like. At this point, you can say something like, “These meetings have been very helpful to me; it’s almost like you’re my mentor!” Then pause and see their reaction.
If they reciprocate with a yes, that’s good news for you. If they smile but don’t respond directly, that’s okay too. It’s likely because they don’t want to formally commit to being your mentor right away. But don’t be discouraged. When they’re making time to meet with you, it’s a win-win as you’re getting the guidance you need.
Keep working on the relationship.
At the point when you request that somebody be your mentor, you are additionally requesting that they put their time in you. Show them that their time is in effect all around utilized by exhibiting a profit from their venture (ROI).
Keep them refreshed: For a mentor, there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing that the time they have invested into a mentee was important and assisted them with progressing towards their objectives. Be that as it may, the mentee must assist the mentor to see exactly how they’ve done as such.
Recall that initially follow-up email you sent? Make that something a regular thing. Utilize the time between your catchups to make a move on the objectives you set with your mentor. Send them refreshes (a straightforward mote or an email) revealing to them how their direction is assuming a significant part in your profession and self-awareness.
Be certain not to spam them. About once a few weeks consistently is acceptable during the initial phase of your relationship. As time advances and you’ve set up a decent mentoring relationship, pinging your mentor once every couple of months is OK. The objective is to stay in contact and to keep them educated about how your profession and skills are advancing.
Offer to help: As with any other relationship, the connection you have with your mentor is a two-way road. The advancement in your career is a reward for your mentor. At the same time, there’s no damage in checking in with your mentor during your gatherings to know if there’s any way you can help them in any capacity. Possibly, they could utilize an external point of view, or maybe you know somebody they were hoping to associate with.
Offer thanks: Write a card to say thanks after each time you have a conversation with them. While it shouldn’t be pretty much as broad as your first thank you card, a concise “Thanks again for your time, was so rewarding catching up with you!” will show them that you like the time and direction they are providing you.
Mentorship can be extraordinary. Being proactive will make your relationship with your mentor an effective one. Utilize these standards to direct you towards a future you’ve envisioned for yourself.