Just a few days ago I was asked on Twitter “How do I find a mentor?” That’s a great question, and here are some suggestions to assist you in your search.
- Get the word out. You never know where you’ll find your mentor or career guide. While it may not be the person you’re having lunch with today, it could very well be someone they know. So inform others that you’re on the lookout so they too can keep their eyes and ears open on your behalf.
- Attend professional functions. The more you mingle with those who are the movers and shakers within your industry and profession, the more chances you’ll have to meet an experienced mentor. Don’t be shy, either, about asking a keynote speaker, association president, or celebrity CEO to mentor you. Oftentimes they are also hoping to connect with an eager mentee so it could turn into a mutually beneficial relationship.
- Look within your organization. Many companies have volunteer mentoring programs, so you may find a great mentor at work. Or you can inquire through the HR department to see if they can put you in touch with mentoring organizations in your geographical area or industry.
- Don’t limit yourself to one mentor. You may realize that you need more than one mentor, especially if you are a person with several specialties or distinct roles. You may need one mentor for leadership development, another for help with writing speeches, and a third who can teach you the nuances of international protocol or cross-cultural business etiquette.
Of course if you find one individual who can provide all the guidance and mentorship you need, that’s ideal. Once they agree to mentor you, reciprocate by working hard to implement their advice. Ask questions, pay attention, and put the lessons you learn into practice. Soon you’ll be mentoring someone and paying that legacy forward.
Oftentimes we gain more insight as we delve deeper into a subject that interests us, and suddenly it seems as though we are hearing it mentioned all the time, everywhere we go.
So try this exercise. Every day for a week, ask every professional you meet if they have ever been mentored by someone. If they say yes, ask how they found their mentor and what they gained from the relationship. You’ll learn a lot, and if you get lucky you might find your next mentor just by engaging in this exercise.
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Sarah Hathorn is a leadership development mentor, executive presence coach, image and branding consultant, public speaker & author. She is the founding CEO of her own successful company, Illustra Consulting, and the creator of the proprietary Predictable Promotion System™.
Blog, Ezine & Website: www.illustraconsulting.com
Copyright © 2012, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS