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
- 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.
- 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).
- Don’t meet halfway (literally): meet at a location/time that is convenient for the mentor. Show that you value/respect their time.
- Take ownership of scheduling/coordination. Make the relationship as effortless as possible for the mentor.
- Come prepared. Have questions ready (but only use them if the conversation lulls). Remember The Best Advice.
- 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.
- Be a student of your mentor. Write down their spouse and kids’ names. Ask about their family by name next time you meet.
- 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