Developing a mentoring relationship with an expert in your field can help your career. It has the potential to reward you with guidance, encouragement, knowledge, and support—all of which can add up to a spike in your personal and professional development.
Because of the many benefits of mentorship—which include increased job satisfaction and reduced turnover rates—some companies now sponsor formal mentor programs in which new employees are matched with leaders. In many other companies, however, in order to be paired with a mentor, you will need to find a way to spark the relationship yourself.
Here are a few tips on starting a mentor relationship:
Set a Goal
One of the best ways to select a mentor is to start by setting a goal about a skill or trait you hope to develop. Then ask yourself who you know that has already achieved that goal? What specifically about this person do you admire? What could you learn if you had ongoing access to their guidance?
Start Small, Be Specific
Once you’ve selected your ideal mentor, start small. Successful leaders are generally busy people whose days are already incredibly full. Ask this person to have coffee with you for just 15 minutes to discuss something specific that relates to you both. Send a calendar invitation. Start out the meeting by introducing yourself and your role in your company. Even if you already know this person, spend a few minutes establishing a more personal connection.
Define the Timeline
Assuming that first meeting goes well, you’ll want to end it by describing the specific goal you set for yourself. Explain why you think this leader would be the best person to guide you. Then make a specific request for a certain amount of time. For example, “Would you be willing to meet with me for 1hr a month for the next 6 months to help guide me?”
It’s best to start with a timeline that’s no longer than one year. Three to six months is an even better duration, as the mentor will have fewer reservations about making a commitment. And although a shorter timeline might seem like not enough quality time, as your relationship grows, you may find it easy enough to extend one goal into the next.
Looking ahead, you may find that these few steps toward finding and engaging a mentor will give you a career-long or even a life-long supporter. And one day, you might become a mentor for someone else.
Want more ideas and support with developing a mentor relationship?
Contact us. We’re here to help. MassHire Cape & Islands Career Center 508-771-JOBS (5627)