Finding a good mentor in business is not as easy as it may sound. You're likely to come across people who pose as mentors but in reality, they just want to sell you something and that's it. It's a common scenario to find mentors who don't meet your expectations since they have different skills. It's therefore important to take your time and decide what you're looking for in a mentor, find if they're a good fit for your business and ways to nurture your relationship with them.
We asked entrepreneurs how they find good mentors in business and here's what they had to say;
#1- The person that hired you
Your first mentor will most likely be the person that hired you. Next, strike up a good relationship with your boss, your co-workers, various supervisors, various management people. Get to know them all and contribute positively to your company. And, keep your eye out for opportunities so you can pitch for those positions. And, most of all, never do or say anything that could be detrimental to your job, your boss, or the company.
Thanks to Robert Barrows, R.M. Barrows, Inc. Advertising & Public Relations!
#2- Figure out “who” you need and the “how” follows
Before you can figure how to find a mentor, you need to figure out what you want in a mentor. First and foremost, you need a generous listener. That's someone who's willing to hear what you are hoping for in your career and business and to champion that for you. If someone has a personal agenda, he or she won't help you. Great mentors or coaches keep you in charge of your choices. They draw out the wisdom from within you and only offer ideas or suggestions with your permission. How do you find such people? Interestingly, they don't need to be experts in your business. Think of people who've been helpful like this in other points in your life. Ask colleagues and friends to identify someone who is a good listener with a solid business sense. You might consider people who recently sold their businesses in your industry. Alternatively, you can gain perspectives from people who analyze or invest in your business sector. Once you've found a prospect, you need to make a good case for why the person should be your mentor. Inspire him or her with what you're hoping to accomplish, why you thought he or she might be of particular value, and what you'd like in the relationship.
Thanks to Don Maruska
#3- Treat your boss like a possible mentor
When you start a new position, treat your boss like a possible mentor. If your boss sees potential in you as an employee, they may try to mentor you. It’s important to maintain a relationship with your boss that is professional and humble. Avoid acting like you know more about the job than your boss does or that you are not willing to learn new skills or to take their advice. Surrounding yourself with a handful of experienced, successful mentors – ideally including your boss – will allow you to grow your career exponentially. Their guidance will be invaluable.
Thanks to Alexander S. Lowry, Gordon College!
#3- Research and use the right approach
To find a good mentor in business, after getting clear about your goals, needs, and desires, it will be helpful to identify 3-5 areas that you desire growth in. In today’s society, with technology at your finger tips, mentees can begin researching those 3-5 areas by way of social media and internet search functions like Youtube, google, Amazon, periscope, Facebook, etc. Look for videos, books, blogs, published articles, credibility, value, and results to start being mentored through. Please note, mentoring doesn’t only occur with personal access to leaders. The impartation of mentorship can occur any time a mentee looks at an idea presented by the mentor and starts to think a little differently, resulting in different behaviors, and different results. Next, mentees should carefully evaluate the tips, guidance, suggestions made, test the results, and seek out opportunities to begin a more formal mentoring relationship, or even a coaching relationship. Mentees should never approach a mentor asking, “Will you be my mentor?” That question will only scream you haven’t done research, you aren’t clear about what you need, and ultimately, I will not have the time you need someone to spend with you. Asking this question without the proper foundation may quickly result in being rejected, even if you aren’t as needy as that question made you sound. Rather, mentees should look for an opportunity to express interest in learning more about a specific topic from that mentor, and asking if perhaps every now and then, they would be willing to answer a question here or there. This approach will at least get the ball rolling and put the mentee in the position of beginning what could be a lifelong mentoring relationship that yields unbelievable value over time.
Thanks to Nikita Lawrence, The Wealth Success Leadership Strategist®!
#4- Consider a few steps
Sometimes the best way to find a business mentor is to look outside your own office. There may be qualified candidates in your own office, but if there isn't don't let that limit you. There are many other places in which to find a good business mentor. When you do find someone that seems like a fit, make sure to set up a meeting in order to discuss the terms of the mentorship, so everyone is on the same page. Finally, there are several online sources that specifically help you along in the journey towards finding the right mentor for your needs.
Thanks to Andrew Rawson, Traliant!
#5- Trust you instincts
Know what you need and trust your instinct. Need: Consider personality, values, experience. Think about what kind of person will best help you get where you want to go. Does that person make you comfortable enough to show your authentic self? Use your gut instinct to answer this. Doesn't feel quite right, not totally comfortable? NOT the one. Feel at ease, valued and totally YOU? That's the one you want.
Thanks to Laura MacLeod, From The Inside Out Project®!
#6- Start with your family and friends
When looking for a mentor, I started with family and friends. My mentor is a businesswoman with over 20 years of experience…and I found her right in my backyard. She is a member of my prayer group. It’s easy for me to talk to her because I trust her expertise. I was lucky that I didn’t have to go very far.
Thanks to Zondra Wilson, Blu Skin Care, LLC!
#7- Be specific
When looking for a mentor, it's important to understand what exactly you need a mentor for. It's easy to say ‘I'm lost, I need help', but if you don't narrow it down, you might be getting the wrong people to advise you at the wrong time. Before reaching out to someone for help, make sure you understand what you need help with, and why the person you're reaching out to is best suited to help with that.
Thanks to Dan Szczepanek, Grandstand Central!
#8- Identify someone in your industry with desirable skills
Your prospective mentor is a person just like you and wants to be treated as such. First, create an Interesting Person Bucket, wherein you identify everyone in your industry that has the knowledge and skills you want to possess — then approach them. Not with over-the-top admiration, but with a basic conversational tone you'd use with your supervisor. Then, answer two important questions: What's in it for the prospective mentor and what do you want from them. Remember, they are short on time and so you should keep it brief and to-the-point.
Thanks to Sylvia LeRahl, Membership Fix!
#9- Seek relationships
My best advice on finding a mentor is to seek a relationship as opposed to seeking charity. What I mean by that is that many young people seek mentor relationships where the mentor gives without receiving. While this works well temporarily (especially during a crisis), it is tough for this to last long term. On the other hand, if someone truly seeks a relationship where the mentor and mentee are both giving and receiving, the relationship can last a lifetime.
Thanks to John Crossman, Crossman & Company!
#10- A number of ways
As a business mentor myself, I find that the best way for anyone in business wanting to find a mentor is to first, start with your own personal networks. Many times we are surrounded by people who have been there, done that in business, it may be a teacher, friend, boss, etc, so start there. But, if there is no one you can think of, broaden your reach by reaching out to people following you on your social media platforms such as LinkedIn or Facebook. Once, you locate a potential mentor you should inventory your own motives. Did you choose this mentor only for what they can bring to you financially or because you want access to their network; or are you reaching out because you genuinely appreciate their work and feel their guidance will help you grow as a person in business. Finally, reach out to the potential mentor via email or phone and let them know what you are seeking; why you want a business mentor; and why you chose them as a potential mentor. During the conversation you may realize they are not the best fit for your needs, but you may find that they are perfect. Either way, you may have to keep searching until you find someone you want and who wants you back.
Thanks to Yaminah Childress