Why we need a mentor?
Since the birth all we have mentors. First are our parents. They lead us to the childhood (not only). Say “Don’t touch the fire. It burns you.” Off course in most cases we touch it to discover the world ourselves but more careful. If you’ve got Christian, so you’ve got a spiritual mentor, a Godfather. And a godfather became a byword for a mentor… In the school mentors are the teachers. But our education doesn’t end at school. It really ends with our death, because all life is the big school. After parents, Godfather and teachers we have to find our mentors ourselves on the field we want to grow up.
How to find a mentor?
- Decide what specific role you'd like your mentor to provide. Write down any problems or specific requirements you might have regarding the field and subject matter. It would be helpful to answer the following questions:
• What would you like to learn?
• What are you looking for from your mentor?
• How will the mentorship "look"?
• How often would you like to meet? Where?
- Make a list of possibilities. Create a list of potential mentors according to your personal criteria and desires for the relationship. Order the list, starting with your top choices.
• Look for the "total package." If you really admire someone's business acumen but can't stand them as a person, they won't make a good mentor.
• Aim high. The rich and famous have personal assistants who learn from them and make connections based on that relationship. Why not you? If Donald Trump would be your ideal business mentor, put him at the top of the list. Write his office a letter, try to schedule a meeting, or apply to be on The Apprentice.
• Check if your company or school has a formal mentoring program that would line up a mentor for you. If so, see if it fulfills your goals and enroll in the program.
- Think about what you'll say. Going up to a professor after class and asking, "I've been thinking: Will you be my mentor?" might scare them off if you don't explain what you mean. It's a big role and a big commitment to ask of someone, if all you're really looking for is, "Can we meet for coffee and talk about physics sometimes?" Be specific and explain what you're looking for.
• Use "mentor" as a verb more than a noun. Saying "I could use some mentoring in figuring out how to get my sales up next quarter. You seem to really have it together, Bob. You mind getting some drinks about talking about it every now and then?" is more attractive for your potential mentor than, "I need you as a mentor. I have to improve my sales. Help."
• Make sure you don't give someone the wrong impression. If the salesperson you really admire is of the opposite sex, this could sound a lot like asking for a date. Keep it at the office or on campus if you're concerned about making it sound that way.
- Start approaching your potential mentors. Work your way down the list until someone agrees to fulfill the relationship as you've outlined it.
• If you don't get anyone the first go-around, don't worry. It may have nothing to do with you personally and more to do with the person's schedule or other issues. Start again and consider possible mentors who've got more time on their hands, or who may be more willing to work with you.
- Make plans to meet. Don't leave the relationship hanging once you've gotten someone to agree. Make concrete plans to get together and hit a bucket of golf balls to improve your swing or go over your calculus homework on a specific day at a specific time.
• If the first meeting goes well, plan subsequent meetings. You might consider asking at that point, "Mind if we make this a regular thing?"
- Keep a schedule and stick to it. Even if the mentorship exists largely over email or online, don't start bombarding your mentor with questions for advice at the last minute if it doesn't fit into the pre-outlined relationship you'd established.
• If the relationship reaches a natural conclusion, it's ok to end it. If you feel confident that you've improved enough in whatever skill you were hoping to learn from your mentor that you feel confident to go forth without weekly coffee meetings, say so.
- Make the relationship mutually beneficial. Think about what you might be able to offer your mentor in return. If you're getting loads of free advice about your short stories from a professor, ask if there's any research or tech help they might be able to use around the office. Setting up the new wireless router would be a great way to earn favor.
• As you improve in your career, remember who and what got you there. As opportunities arise, don't forget about your mentors that helped you along the way.
- Show your appreciation. Write to your mentor to keep them updated on your progress and remember to thank them for their specific contributions. This will give the mentor a feeling of being useful, needed, and also skillful at their craft.
• Be specific. Just saying, "Thanks, you're being so helpful!" isn't as reassuring as, "I totally nailed that last sale thanks to your opening line tips. Thanks!"
• Gratitude could include a small gift as a "thank you" token. Small things like a book, a bottle of wine, or the occasional meal may be appropriate.
- Keep a strictly professional relationship between you and your mentor. Emotional involvement with your mentor will usually not be in the best interest of the mentoring process, especially if it's someone you work with.
How to be sure you’re choice is the right one? The good mentor will:
• Assess your strengths and weaknesses
• Help you understand the structure and organization of the topic
• Introduce new perspectives and correct any wrong thinking
• Boost your ability to make decisions
• Familiarize you with the tricks of the trade
• Introduce you to important resources and useful references