Mentorship is a necessary and important endeavor when it comes to success. A mentor can help you set and achieve career goals, be a source of support and accountability, and also help you learn new skills and navigate life. A mentor is a reservoir of knowledge. However, often times we take advantage of mentors by only receiving what they have to offer and never giving any value in return. Today I am going to show you 4 ways you can not only find a mentor, but create a relationship that is beneficial for the both of you.
1. Finding a Mentor
It goes without saying that in order to have a mentoring relationship you first have to find a mentor. This is actually the easiest step in the mentoring relationship. You can find mentors through various educational and career organizations, school, work, or church. Where you find your mentor will depend on the type of mentoring relationship that you seek. However, you will soon discover that a good mentor usually flows knowledge to more than one area of your life.
If you’re in need of a mentor I suggest first starting at school or work. This is where I found my Fantastic Four (that’s the name I gave to my mentors, they are oblivious to this however lol). If you’re in school you have to interact with professors, advisers, Deans, and the like. Seek out someone whom you share similar career or educational interests with. Go to their office hours or hold conversations with them after class. If they think that you are a hardworking student, they will be more than happy to mentor you. This is what happened to me. But the key is that you have to show potential. No one wants to waste time on someone who they see no value in.
And for career mentors, it’s pretty much the same strategy. Seek out people in your company who share the same career interests as you. Once again, you must show potential and that mentoring you will be a benefit for that person. Here is a really great article from Forbes that has strategies on how to get the mentoring relationship started. These tips can also be tailored towards educational mentors.
2. Have Regular Meetings
I have a regularly set meeting with each of my mentors once a month. Of course schedules change and life gets hectic, but I never go more than a month without speaking to them. Having regularly scheduled meetings allows for me and my mentors to catch up on what’s been going on and create strategies on how I can accomplish my goals. Our meetings usually occur at a local restaurant so that we can kill two birds with one stone (read we love to eat).
Having a set schedule for meetings with your mentor makes sure that you are always on their radar. It also shows that you are serious about the relationship by having dedicated time to be one-on-one with them.
3. Add Value
This is possibly the most important thing in a mentoring relationship. It is a given that your mentor should be adding value to your life. If not, why are they your mentor? But what value are YOU adding to theirs.
For my mentors I have babysat, taught lectures, recruited students, graded homework, dropped off kids to school, spoken at events they could not attend, and the list goes on. My mentors know that they can count on me to be there for them like they are for me. And, they know that I have taken heed to everything that they have taught me so I am an easy pick to attend and speak at events they cannot attend or teach a lecture when they can’t be in class.
Mentorship is not a one-way street and if you treat it as such your mentors will start to get tired of you very quickly. Think of ways that you can add value to your mentor and start implementing them today!
4. Be Human
Yes having a mentor is a strategic move to help you improve your life, education, and career. But keep in mind, your mentors are human too. They are not a robot that you just receive information from and the relationship is based on methodical procedures. A mentorship is still a relationship that needs to taken care of nurtrured like any other relationship in your life. I disagree with those that say that you should only talk ‘business’ or your goals with your mentor. As you saw above, my menotrs and I have a very humanistic relationship. I help them out with thier children, have met thier families, and attend birthday celebrations and holidays. I am vulnerable with them, I’m pretty sure all of them have seen me cry. And that’s ok. There is more to you than your education and career and a good mentor will know that. If your mentor never asks about or you don’t discuss other areas in your life besides education and career, you may wantto rethink the relationship.
hope this post has made you rethink mentorship relationships. Take these steps into action and let me know how they work out for you. What other suggestions do you have on fostering a flourishing mentor relationships. And, if you disagree with some of my suggestions let me know that too! We can discuss in the comments or in our FREE success group. Until next time!