Many people know that a professional mentor can provide invaluable assistance during professional development, from sound advice to valuable feedback and meeting useful people. In some situations, the person allows you to get the job of your dreams. In real life, the mentorship program does not just appear in front of you when all you have to do is agree to the offer. More often than not, you have to take care of all the business yourself: looking for the right person and making a mentoring request, and in the future (in case of a positive response), you have to work on building a really beneficial relationship that benefits each side of the agreement.
Of course, you must do more than walk up to someone and ask them to be a career coach. (In general, you can do that, but it probably will have a negative effect.) In this article, we will go as deep as possible into everything about mentoring – what kind of specialist it is, how to find the right person to achieve a career path, how to ask someone about mentoring, and how to establish a mutually beneficial successful relationship.
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A professional mentor is a special person with quite a big baggage of knowledge and own experience, giving useful advice and guiding a person with fewer skills and experience in a particular area. The interaction between the two people is called a mentor-mentee relationship. A mentor is a trusted advisor who often gives his mentee useful advice on achieving career development. Also, the mentor’s tasks include personal development, motivation, guidance, and moral support of the mentee. Indeed, a great mentor is obliged to take care of his mentee. He plays the role of a role model. It can apply not only to the professional sphere but also to his personal life.
A successful mentor-mentee relationship with a person who fully meets all expectations has several characteristics:
It should be noted that there is a purely time commitment between these people. Potential mentee seeks out a mentor often at the very beginning of their career path. At the same time, mentorship can last for quite a long time – years or decades with constant support.
Professional careers certainly require hard work and constant development. At the initial stage, figuring out where and how exactly to move can be challenging. In this situation, one of the best decisions is to enlist the help of someone who has already managed to reach certain heights in your chosen direction. If we compare employees with and without coaching, those with a guide in their career trajectory receive quite a few advantages. These include professional guidance, mindset shift, expert support, and the opportunity to advance the career ladder.
Experts have studied the professional relationship between mentor and mentee more than once. Studies show the many benefits of mentoring, from increased self-confidence to rapid career advancement. A great mentor and fruitful, successful collaboration allows for the following benefits:
Mentorship programs have many undeniable benefits. But to get all these benefits, you first need to find a great person with a tremendous amount of specialized knowledge and useful skills willing to share it with someone else. Before you find out how to ask someone to be your mentor, you should first find a real expert in your chosen field and then go straight to how to approach the offer.
Before looking for the best and most effective way how to ask someone to be your mentor and contact the right person, you should identify what you want from the relationship and what you expect from the mentor. Answering these questions will help you get in the right direction early on in your journey.
First, you need to identify a few important points by answering the following questions: Why do you need a mentor in the first place? What career goals will a qualified mentor help you achieve? What are your main mentoring goals and how exactly will you act to achieve them?
To identify exactly what you want to achieve as a result of mentoring, it is worth using the 3-step system presented below:
Once you have identified exactly what you expect from mentoring, you can move directly to finding a good mentor who will fit your goals.
Even if you have already decided which person you want as your prospective mentor, it does not hurt to take the time to look for potential mentors for that role. If you consider other professionals, it will be a good use of time. If you want to find a worthy prospective mentor, you must first follow the step-by-step guidance below:
You should definitely have an initial conversation with your mentor, during which you should talk frankly about his career and the field in which he works and reaches the top. The mentor should be excellent at making contact. Open-minded people are more likely to give sound advice on how to succeed. If you feel that your mentor is telling you the pure truth, and giving you relevant information, then it is his advice that you should follow.
In addition, if your potential mentor also at one time enlisted the help of a real professional, then he is more likely to help you, give practical advice, point out where you need to push, find a mistake, and help correct it because they once walked the same way that you are at the moment. He can know the relationship between the mentor and the mentee or what mistakes should be avoided.
If you are looking for the right person, it doesn’t hurt to look first a guidance and at some of the traits that distinguish a good mentor:
Multiple mentors may be considered at first, but it is worth focusing on one in the end. Both mentors can give conflicting advice, and it isn’t easy to find two people at the same time who are fully prepared to help with personal and career development.
If you seriously occupy another person’s time that he will spend on your development, you should first determine what you can offer a potential mentor in exchange for his efforts. The presented benefits of working with you should be defined in advance so that it is easier to explain them to him. Ideally, a mentoring relationship should benefit everyone – it’s like a two-way street. The mentor and mentee should benefit professionally and personally from the type of cooperation presented. For example, the main benefits of having a mentee are as follows:
Determining how useful and valuable you can be as a mentee is worth it. In this situation, defining your core values: strengths, and knowledge in a particular area are worth defining. It would be best if you did some self-awareness. By understanding and defining your value as a mentee, you significantly increase the likelihood of a positive response to a mentoring request.
At the same time, asking someone if he wants to be your mentor can be quite awkward – you need to understand that this is not just a small favor but a rather large request. Before asking this question, it is a good idea to first look for signs that the person you have chosen may respond positively to such an offer, or will certainly be interested and seriously consider the possibility. You can do this by answering a few important questions:
If you answered the above questions positively, you have found the right person who can be a worthy mentor. It’s best that even before mentoring, there is already a connection or friendship between these people. Establishing a mutually beneficial, positive mentoring relationship makes it much easier.
Asking someone if they would like to be your mentor is an important and responsible enough event to establish a strong, long-lasting, productive professional relationship. In this situation, it is necessary to follow certain recommendations.
If you are wondering how to ask someone to be your mentor, we can help you with this question. Before you ask someone, you should ensure you have found the right person. Don’t expect that a high-ranking professional (CEO of a corporation, a businessman with his own company, and others) will immediately want to be your mentor and willingly agree without hesitation. Of course, they may want to be, but there is no guarantee that a busy person’s time will allow it. It is a good idea to take someone who is two to three levels above you as a mentor, but they should refrain from interacting directly with you on the job. If the result of your work directly affects your mentor, it cannot be easy to be objective.
In reality, asking someone to become your mentor is not as scary or difficult as it may seem. This issue also has certain strategies and tips for doing it right. In particular, how to increase the likelihood of getting a positive response from the person you want.
When you have found someone who can be your potential mentor, it is time to contact them. In this situation, you will benefit from professional advice on how to ask someone to be your mentor. If you want to ask someone about it, it doesn’t have to look like a formal question, particularly if you don’t know the person well. Simply asking, “Will you be my mentor?” at this point in time can be an overwhelming burden for someone who is exceptionally busy and has little time. A much better way to ask would be: “I’m impressed with your work (career success or something else like that phrase) and would like to ask you for advice regarding my career?” If the person is willing to help you and answers in the affirmative, an initial meeting can be scheduled to discuss the matter in more detail. If everything goes as it should during the first meeting, you can arrange to meet regularly.
If you get helpful advice from a helpful person and see that they are interested in helping you further, it is worth asking the appropriate question “I benefited from your advice and would like to learn from you further. Maybe we could have coffee every few weeks/months (any other time period) and talk?”
If you want to address this more formally, that’s perfectly feasible. The approach presented is most often used when the potential mentee knows their mentor very well and wants to make the future relationship more formal. Before the first meeting is held, you must first ensure that you understand exactly what you will ask for.
More often than not, advisors complain that they need help understanding exactly what the mentee expects from them and what the follow-up should be. If you ask someone to be your mentor, give them a clear idea of what you want from them. It can be a lunch meeting, phone conversation, or Skype connection. Do you want to meet on a regular basis once a month, more often, or less often? Initially, it’s best to immediately outline what you want from this relationship.
Different people understand the term “mentor” in different ways. For example, some may think that this is an advisor who will help solve work problems, or it could be someone who helps to change the direction of the activity, the specialist who helps you learn new skills, gives useful insights, transfers experience, and so on. When you are going to ask someone to be your mentor, it does not hurt to tell him what he means to you and what exactly you want from him. You can tell him: “I’m impressed with your work, and I want you to guide me in my future career path. I want to meet with you once a month (or any other timeframe) to discuss my work results, and maybe you can give me sound advice on what I should do next and what I should focus on.
Only some people are willing to approach a potential mentor verbally right away. Preparing a mentoring proposal in an email is one of the best ways to get your thoughts out there. It is in an email that the information can be clearly and structured, and the recipient will have plenty of time to think about the response. Sending a well-written email shows that you are willing to make some effort to establish a fruitful relationship.
Include additional contacts in your email – social media profiles, cell phone numbers, and more. Write it in the signature of the letter. This way, the person will have several options for contacting you besides email.
Contacting your desired mentor to send them a proposal via email is one of the best ways to demonstrate that you value their time and that your request is not a big deal (meaning that they are perfectly capable of it).
Asking someone about mentoring or settling details of relationship after their prior agreement via email can be done during a formal meeting. For it to go as it should, it’s worth thinking through what you will say in advance. The best way to test compatibility and see if the potential mentor’s personality matches your expectations is to meet for coffee or lunch. This meeting is a great opportunity to talk about how you see mentorship.
A face-to-face meeting with a potential mentor is aimed at the following:
If you have met with your potential mentor more than once and know them well, you can reach them by phone, email, or any other method you always use to communicate. During the conversation, you should explain that you are looking for a mentor to help you achieve your goal. It’s also worth noting that you have benefited from his past advice, appreciates his help and support, and want him to be your mentor.
If this is your first meeting with a mentor, send them an email or social media message first. It would be best to introduce yourself and tell them about your qualifications and why you want them to be your mentor. For example, say you work in the same field, want to be in the same position as your mentor, and would like to be as high as he is. You can also attach a file with your resume to the letter, so he can see your professional level. Also, thank your mentor for being willing to help you. It also helps to make it clear that you appreciate the time he is willing to spend with you, outside of work schedule and personal life.
The meeting agenda is an offer of mentorship. If the person agrees, at the first meeting or afterward, you should plan the time immediately, make a schedule, how often you will meet, and how much time your mentor has to help you. The mentor will appreciate that you appreciate his schedule, making a schedule of meetings and adjusting it to the work and workload of your advisor. A clear schedule will allow you to plan your goals and development intelligently. If you’re aiming at a long-term relationship, it’s worth making a schedule of meetings for several months.
Mentoring allows you to realize your career goals, to establish your professional and personal life. Mentoring is good for career advancement, and the mentee often works on self-esteem and developing self-confidence. Mentoring is a better idea. At the same time, to make this relationship a success, it needs to be approached thoroughly. To get the most out of mentoring, it pays to follow up:
Relationships with a mentor take the lead in improving your career prospects. Mentoring can also do a lot of good for the advisor who wants to pass their expertise on to becoming a professional.
It is a good idea to look forward and set expectations for yourself about mentoring. You need to explain to the mentor why you need them and exactly what you want to accomplish during your relationship. It could be:
Expectations should be specific, relevant, measurable, and time-bound so that you are on track. It’s a good idea to ask your mentor what skills you need and how exactly you need to set up your workflow to achieve your goal. Specifying your expectations is good for your mentor – this will help them understand if they have enough experience and knowledge to guide you effectively.
Once you’ve outlined your main goals and your mentor knows your expectations, you should create a detailed work plan. It will demonstrate your commitment to learning from your mentor. The plan should be clear and consistent. First, you can develop a draft mentoring plan, which should include what you want to learn, what you want to learn, and what areas you want to master. The plan should include the following:
It would help if you made a plan with your mentor, agreeing on all points. You can change or add things along the way.
Mentorship for many has played an important role in career paths. A professional advisor helps build a rewarding career for their mentee and helps solve various problems. Long-term mentoring focuses on the mentee’s ongoing support, development, and career growth. A competent advisor will not give advice on day-to-day problem solving, he will give him proper support and guidance on the right path to achieve his goals, at the same time leaving the mentee with complete freedom of choice.
Mentoring has many benefits: positive recommendations and feedback, help in getting a dream job, opening up new perspectives, gaining professional knowledge and useful skills, transferring experience, and much more. Before finding the right person, you need to assess the potential mentor’s connections, what benefits you can get from this collaboration, whether this person suits you, their manner of communication, whether you admire their career achievements, and other things. Presented relationships can be built on the basis of a variety of role models – help in obtaining a certain position, a change of career, and so on. In any case, if you want to reach certain heights in the professional sphere, you should not refuse mentoring but seek such an opportunity yourself. Evaluate your environment, in all likelihood. There is a person there who will help you achieve more.