Finding a mentor can be difficult. It’s often one of the things that can hold us back from developing and flourishing professionally, if we cannot gain access to guidance from someone who has more experience and knowledge. So we reveal our 4 top tips in making a mentor relationship happen!
– Attend events within your field or interest, and research the speakers beforehand via LinkedIn. If the person is a Founder or CEO, they are less likely to have time for mentorship. Look for someone of senior level with years of experience.
-Connect immediately after an event and send a message (via LinkedIn, emails can get lost in the inbox) relaying how much you enjoyed listening to them speak. Give examples of the value of what they taught- everyone likes to be complimented about their expertise! This opens up the initial communication.
– Continue following the potential mentor’s work and presence via social media channels and their company networks. Mention to them any updates you find interesting and hope to learn more about.
– Ensure you cultivate this smoothly and openly, do not send excessive messages, instead try ‘trickled’ communication. Let them see that you’re taking initiative on gaining more information on the industry and are keen to find out more.
– If communication has been positive, and the potential mentor has responded to most of the messages in an engaged way, be bold and take the leap! Ask if it would be possible to meet them (virtually is more conventional these days), and if you have the means, make it a coffee/ lunch meet.
– Tell them to choose a location close by to pick up food, taking their order accordingly. You can make payment to the eatery over the phone. This is a gesture of kindness that they will remember- even if they may not say yes to the mentorship, they may later on or at least refer you to someone, stating your goodwill.
-Create the meeting invite according to their availability. Zoom is easy-to-use and allows up to 40 minutes free.
– Ease into the conversation, but be clear on why you wanted to meet them in the first place. Have points ready on how this could be a beneficial mentoring partnership for you both:
1. State your goals/ what you’re hoping to achieve.
2. Express the benefits of a mentee-mentor relationship: they would increase their leadership impact and grow the pipeline of success. You would gain increased knowledge for professional development.
3. Make them aware that you’d organize any future meetings, according to their availability and give examples of how you would come prepared.
4. And finally, ask if they’d be interested in being your mentor! If they are not available, ask if there are any other leaders they have in mind that they can refer you to.
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