Success in many areas of life depends on personal and professional development, and finding a mentor can help.
You cannot successfully walk the path to personal and professional development alone.
Mentoring simply means a relationship between you (the mentee) and a more experienced person (mentor) that will benefit your growth.
How to find a mentor
Finding the right mentor is never easy. However, when you know how to do it, you can connect with whoever can change your life. Here are some tips on how to find a mentor:
Know what to look for in a mentor
The first step in finding a mentor is to have a clear picture of what you are looking for. Some qualities a mentor should look for include:
- relevant knowledge, expertise and experience
- Enthusiasm to impart their knowledge
- Ability to give honest feedback
- Passionate about the field / skills in which you want to grow
There can be many people you can mentor. However, not all of them can do this successfully. As with any other type of relationship, find someone who understands you and is willing to invest in you.
Join a mentorship platform
There are several mentoring platforms that can be used to connect mentees with mentors.
Examples of such platforms are:
MentorCruise is one of the best mentoring platforms for technology, design and business
One of its advantages is that it is a two-sided market. Mentees can look for mentors and vice versa. Mentors set prices, typically $ 150-250 per month for a seven-day trial.
As the name suggests, GrowthMentor is a mentoring platform for growth hackers.
GrowthMentor’s main selling point is the unlimited calls to mentors. You can also ask for help and have mentors respond to you. Get all of this and more from $ 50 per month paid annually.
Pelion connects developers with experienced mentors in their areas of expertise.
With mentors from top tech companies around the world, it’s one of the best mentoring platforms for tech experts. Mentors set prices that typically start at $ 300 per month.
Clarity works on a simple model where you search the expert community and request a call to a mentor of your choice. Unlike other platforms, you usually only work briefly with a mentor to solve an immediate problem.
Mentors set the minute rates as this method is via a phone call rather than an ongoing mentoring setup.
Reach your existing network
One of the best ways to find a mentor is to look up your existing network. Find some people on your network who have already achieved what you want to achieve. Make a list of these people and take a close look at each person to narrow your list.
When you have determined who will find a suitable mentor, reach out to them and ask if they would be willing to take you on as a mentee.
With this method, you don’t have to build a relationship from scratch or hope that you and your mentor get along.
However, if you can’t think of someone you already know, reach out to other members of your network. They could possibly recommend a perfect match for you.
Go to Professional Networking Events
Professional networking events connect you with people in your industry who have the knowledge, skills, experience, and connections you need.
The key to finding a mentor at professional networking events is to attend as many events as possible. Observe seasoned participants and write down the ones that fit your desired mentor profile.
Find an industry meeting
Industry meetups are similar to professional networking events in that they are full of people in your field who want to learn more but are not solely into networking. Examples of industry meetings are:
- Networking and lecture events
- Trade Shows
You can also attend informal meetups organized by actors in your industry or created through online platforms such as Meetup.
Attend volunteer events or social clubs
With volunteer events and social clubs, you can meet new people and learn what is important to them. While these don’t have to be industry specific, you never know who you might run into – maybe the person cleaning the kennel next to you at the animal rescue is an established person in your field!
Regularly attending volunteer events and social clubs can help you get to know the regulars better. This will help you identify who will provide a suitable mentor for you in a situation outside of work.
While this takes a long time on your part and may not always work, you may find that you are doing your community good and having fun, if nothing else.
Use social media
Social media helps people worldwide and from all walks of life to connect on the same level.
That makes it an excellent tool for finding mentors.
Most social media platforms allow you to search using keywords and hashtags. These features make it easy to filter based on the specific criteria you have set for the type of mentor you want. You can then monitor the activities of your potential mentors to verify authenticity and engagement.
Which social media platforms are best for finding mentors?
The answer depends on which social media platforms are the most popular in your industry. The platforms that are likely to help you find a mentor online are:
- Facebook (especially Facebook groups)
One piece of advice: never set up your prospective mentor directly. To increase the chances of getting you accepted as a mentee, get involved first and interact with their posts. You want them to know who you are and what you value.
4 tips to get the most out of your mentorship
Finding the right mentor is only half of the mentor equation. You also need to know how to get the most out of your mentor / mentee relationship. Here are some tips to help you do this:
1. Have a goal for your mentorship
Sit down with your mentor to discuss what the outcome of the mentorship should be. That way, you can focus on what’s most important in the mentoring relationship. Without clear goals, you don’t know whether you are making progress or not.
2. Prepare for your meetings
Never attend a mentoring session without preparing for it first. Remember, these sessions are for your benefit. So you have to put the work into making sure that you are maximizing the time your mentor gives you. Before your meeting, you should:
- Review the notes from your last meeting.
- List the questions you want to ask.
- Set goals for the upcoming meeting.
While it is your mentor’s responsibility to impart knowledge, you should also play a role in directing the conversations.
3. Know how to give feedback
An essential aspect of your relationship with your mentor is the feedback process. While most of the feedback will come from them, multiple times you will be expected to provide feedback as well. Here are some tips to help you do this:
- Avoid vague statements – be specific.
- Only give feedback when asked to.
- Be descriptive rather than judgmental.
You also need to be honest with your feedback. Trying to gloss over feedback only slows the process down. Don’t be rude, but be clear.
4. Learn to be constructive criticism
Part of the growth process is receiving criticism. Not all of the feedback you get from your mentor is positive. You need to learn to be good at accepting and dealing with negative feedback. Only when you are open and receptive to constructive criticism can you get the most out of your relationship with your mentor.
Remember, however, constructive criticism is not the same as destructive criticism. The former helps to find solutions, while the latter only finds problems. Assume positive intent – maybe you and your mentor communicate differently, or one of you may just be having a bad day.
However, if all you find is problems and no solutions, find a new mentor and end that relationship. There are a lot of mentors out there!
Why should you find a mentor?
No matter where you are in your business or career, you could benefit from having a mentor.
You can have many mentors as long as their knowledge and experience don’t overlap too much. Each member of your group of mentors should bring something unique to the table.
Some reasons you may need to consider finding a mentor are:
Accelerate your progress
One of the most important benefits of mentoring is that it can accelerate your progress towards a goal. Mentors will help you avoid common mistakes many make in your niche / industry. They may also show you the right steps to get where you want to go. As a result, your progress could be faster.
Expand your network
Another reason to find a mentor is to expand your professional network. A mentor who has been in the industry for a long time has likely made some valuable connections. Access to a mentor may give you access to these connections.
Improve your professional skills
One of the best ways to learn and improve a skill is to get someone to teach you. That is exactly what mentors do. If you are looking to improve your professional skills, mentoring may be the best way to do it.
Broaden your view of your specialist area, your niche or your industry
A common frustration that many face in business and on their career path is reaching a plateau. This usually happens because other alternatives and growth opportunities are not seen. Fortunately, since a mentor often sees the bigger picture, they may advise you to keep moving on an upward trend.
As you can see, mentoring has several advantages for your personal and professional development.
Mentoring is an integral part of the success equation. Whether you want to master digital marketing, programming, or any other professional discipline, the best way to develop yourself is through mentoring. Regardless of your specialty, industry, or expertise, mentoring is one of the most effective ways to help you advance.
However, to do this you need to know how to find a mentor. Using the advice outlined above can improve your chances of finding the right mentor.
Have you ever been mentored or looked after someone? How was the experience
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