Surrey Business News
Four Things You Should Know Before Searching for a Mentor
A mentor can shift your mindset and open new worlds of connections and possibilities. But how do you change gears from admiring someone to working one-on-one? What should the relationship look like? Consider the following before you start your quest for guidance.
Get clear on what you need.
Many people use the word “mentor” interchangeably with “role model” or “coach.” A mentor should have experience in your field and work with you, one-on-one, without charging a fee. If you need help with a specific problem, like organizing your time, then a coach might be a better fit. If you’re simply searching for inspiration, study a role model instead.
Make the ask. Be clear from the outset. Ask your potential mentor how much time they can devote to you — will you meet once a week? Once a month? Will you work together for three months, six months, a year? What would you like to learn from your mentor? Setting expectations and boundaries up front will give the relationship a framework and a deadline; without them, the relationship can lose value over time.
Do the work. Don’t abuse the relationship by wasting time or failing to execute on what is asked of you. Do your homework and be prepared when you show up for your appointments. Remember: Your mentor can help you only as much as you are willing to help yourself.
Know when to move on.
If you or your mentor are meeting out of habit, or if you’re putting the work in but feel like you’re not getting much out of it, then it’s time to move on. Straying into the friend zone is also a red flag — this is a business relationship, not a personal one, and keeping the two separate will help you stay on track.
Your relationship with your mentor should be challenging, rewarding, and eye-opening. Approach it thoughtfully and you’ll reap the benefits — and maybe even learn lessons you can pass on to a mentee someday.
Margaret Page has founded several specialized companies, including Beyond the Page Coaching, Etiquette Page and Page the Coach. firstname.lastname@example.org