Warren Buffett mentored Bill Gates, Christian Dior mentored Yves Saint-Laurent, and Maya Angelou mentored Oprah Winfrey. Having a mentor can be beneficial to your career in many ways. According to Forbes, 76 percent of people value mentorship programs. Find out what a mentor is and why you need one for career or personal success in this guide.
Who Is a Mentor?
A mentor is a professional who shares their experience and wisdom to someone else to help them grow and develop. A mentor can be a teacher, coach, boss, or friend. If you’re looking for a mentor, seek someone you respect and admire. Finding the right person may take some time, but the effort will be worth it. A strong mentor-mentee relationship can be transformational.
1. Tips to Build a Relationship For Mentorship
Building a relationship with a mentor can be a great way to get guidance, support, and advice as you navigate your career. Here are a few tips to help you build that relationship:
- Do your homework. Before reaching out to a potential mentor, research to ensure they’re a good fit. Consider their area of expertise, career achievements, and personal interests.
- Make the first move. Once you’ve identified a few potential mentors, reach out and introduce yourself. Ask if they’re open to meeting for coffee or lunch to chat further.
- Come prepared. When you meet with your mentor, come prepared with questions or topics you want to discuss. This will show that you’re serious about the relationship and value their insights.
- Be respectful of their time. A mentorship is not a one-way street – it requires give and take from both parties. Respect your mentor’s time by being prepared for meetings and being mindful of deadlines or other commitments they may have.
- Follow up and say thank you. After each meeting or interaction with your mentor, follow up with a quick note or email to thank them for their time and advice. This simple act of courtesy will go a long way in solidifying the relationship.
2. Qualities a Good Mentor Should Have
It takes more to be a good mentor than simply being a successful professional. In many cases, what makes someone a good mentor for you will be specific to your goals, personality, and values. Here are some general qualities to look out for in a mentor:
- They should be knowledgeable in their field of expertise. They should be able to provide guidance and answer any questions their mentee might have.
- Furthermore, they should be patient and be able to listen attentively. Your mentor should allow you ample time to articulate your needs and expectations. They should also give you ample time to work on yourself and grow.
- They should be able to give constructive criticism and provide feedback that will help their mentee grow and improve.
- They should be someone who inspires respect. You should find a mentor you can look up to and emulate.
3. Benefits of Having a Mentor
A mentor can be an asset at any stage of your career. A good mentor can offer guidance and advice when you need it most. They can also help you to develop essential skills and knowledge and to make connections in your industry. Here are just a few of the many benefits of having a mentor:
- A mentor can help you to develop a clear understanding of your goals and how to achieve them.
- A mentor can teach new concepts and ideas and help you to develop new skills.
- A mentor can provide motivation when you are facing challenges.
- A mentor can offer advice and feedback on your work.
- A mentorship relationship can give you an inside view of an organization or industry and help you network with key people.
4. How to Get a Mentor
A mentor can be an asset for anyone looking to further their career or improve their skills. They can provide guidance and advice when you are making important decisions. But, how do you go about finding a mentor? Find out below:
- Identify the reason you need a mentor. Once you know what you want out of the relationship, you can choose the right person more easily. It is also more likely a mentor will agree to work with you if they know exactly what will be expected of them.
- You can start by asking your friends, family, or colleagues if they know someone who might be willing to help. Having a personal connection will make it more likely they will agree to meet with you.
- Look for mentorship programs in your industry or field. These programs typically pair experienced professionals with those who are just starting out. If you’re having trouble finding a mentor, you can also reach out to your professional network or even attendance events in your industry.
- The power of social media cuts across multiple industries. You can use social media to seek mentorship from top professionals.
- See what resources are available through career centers at your college or university. If you are attending a coding bootcamp, such as Flatiron School or App Academy, you will have access to career services to help you find a mentor and prepare to enter the workforce.
Finding a mentor at any point in your career can be extremely beneficial. If you are passionate about entering a field but are struggling to get your foot in the door, a mentor can provide expert knowledge and tips to help you succeed. You may also consider hiring a mentor or even a Life Coach or Career Coach to help you accelerate results.