How to: Find a Mentor

Finding a mentor is hard work. It is often intimidating. Your busy schedule may feel like there is no space to find a mentor. Will they think you are imposing on them? What if it is not perfect/the right fit? And what if they say no?

But, push through these challenges. It is worth it to find a mentor.

Mentors = cheat code

Nothing will accelerate your development, technical knowledge, or network quicker than a mentor.

Eight tips for developing a mentor

  1. It likely won’t be a perfect fit…and that’s ok. Is there something about the person’s style, ability, or work/life balance that you admire? Ask them out.
  2. It doesn’t have to be forever. It’s just coffee/lunch. Connect with the mentor a few times for one year. If it isn’t a great fit at that point, find someone else (this also works as dating advice).
  3. Don’t meet halfway (literally): meet at a location/time that is convenient for the mentor. Show that you value/respect their time.
  4. Take ownership of scheduling/coordination. Make the relationship as effortless as possible for the mentor.
  5. Come prepared. Have questions ready (but only use them if the conversation lulls). Remember The Best Advice.
  6. Follow-up. A quick “thank you” text message or note goes a long way. Circle back to share the progress/updates on situations where they had offered advice.
  7. Be a student of your mentor. Write down their spouse and kids’ names. Ask about their family by name next time you meet.
  8. Support the things they support. If your mentor is at your firm, lead an office event for the group your they sponsors or work extra hard on a shared assignment. If your mentor serves on the board of a non-profit, volunteer at the annual gala.

Send the email…ask that person to be a mentor!

See also – How to: 5 Types of Mentors

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