If you are a professional individual who wants to take career to the next level, you may think of a mentor who can guide you through. In fact, a study shows that 76% of employees think a mentor is important for career growth. Many organizations administer professional mentoring for leadership development to support employees’ growth. But if your organization doesn’t have a mentoring program, it becomes difficult to find a mentor at work.
Here are a few steps to follow when you are trying to find a mentor at work.
1. Outline your career goals
The first step to finding a mentor at your workplace is to define what you want out of your career. This doesn’t mean you have to plan your whole career. Think where you want to see yourself in the next five years. Do you want a mentor to help you develop a new skill or to find a new career path? Your answer will help you determine what kind of mentor you need.
2. Identify the type of mentor you want
Once you’ve outlined your career goals, try to identify people within your network who can help you achieve them. Find someone who is in a position where you see yourself in the near future. For example, if you are working as a sales executive and want to become a relationship manager, a current relationship manager would be a great mentor.
Your mentor doesn’t necessarily have to be someone in a more senior position; you can also choose a peer who is in the process for a longer period of time.
It’s always better to avoid an immediate manager or supervisor as a mentor. Most people tend to refrain from opening up in front of their immediate supervisor.
3. Don’t be afraid to reach out
Now that you have a list of your potential mentors, the next step is to reach out to them. Try to establish a connection by simply asking them to grab a cup of coffee or chatting about work. Once you feel comfortable with the person, you can take the next step.
Asking someone directly to be your mentor might seem a little awkward. But most people are flattered by the anticipation of being asked to mentor someone. If you can build a good relationship with the person beforehand, there is a good chance that you will get a positive response.
4. Educate your potential mentor on the benefits of mentoring
Your mentor can have a lot on his plate, especially if he is in a senior position. Moreover, helping someone grow without any reward might not seem exciting for everyone.
Once you have a good rapport with your potential mentor, try to educate them on how mentoring benefits mentors. Mentoring for leadership allows the mentor to practice active listening which is a vital quality of a leader. The knowledge, a mentor shares, helps them grow their confidence and sense of self-worth. Mentoring increases the mentor’s interpersonal relationship skills by allowing them to engage with another person who is not a part of their team. Above all, having taken time to nurture someone helps a mentor’s resume to stand out.
5. Make the ask
Asking someone to mentor you can be a big task even when you know the person well. Here are a few steps you can follow to make the ask:
1. Take your time and make a list of things you are going to say to your potential mentor. These can include your goals, why you think they are a good fit as your mentor, and how they can help you, how you are planning to meet for your sessions, and your expectations from your mentor.
2. Check if he/she can make time for an hour meeting with you so that you have plenty of time to describe your points as well as for the other person to ask you questions.
3. Confirm your willingness to take responsibility for scheduling meetings, following the mentor’s guidance, your time commitment, and making the most out of the mentoring relationship.
Originally published on: Mentoring University