8 Steps for Finding a Mentor

Last week I did a blog post about the Mentors Walk in Denver on June 18.  If you want to sign up, go to http://www.womensvision.org.  I’m participating as a mentor.  If you read this career advice blog with any regularity, you know that I am a big believer in the power of mentoring.

Yesterday, I receive an email from Scott Dinsmore in which he listed eight steps for finding and working with a mentor.  I asked Scott if I could post his thoughts here, and he graciously agreed.  Check it out…

8 Steps to Creating the Perfect Mentor, by Scott Dinsmore

Start close to home. Your mentor is likely to be someone who’s already close to you. Think of who you count on for advice. Those you trust for opinions. Who do you look up to and hope to be like one day? Who do you admire? Make a list of these people – I’m grateful to say my parents top this chart.

Look at the people around you. If no one jumps out in your existing circle then look at the relationships that people have around you. Who are their mentors and advisers? See if you can get out to a meal or event with all of you together. Add these people to your list.

Tell them the impact they’ve had. Take them out to coffee or a dinner and open your heart. Let them know how much you respect what they’ve done and appreciate their advice. People are often too embarrassed to tell someone how they feel.  Don’t be one of them. Do you have any idea how amazing it is to know that someone looks up to you? It’s as high as honors come. If you feel that way about someone, tell them. You’re connection will be all the stronger as a result. And you’ll give them a relationship to live up to as you seek their advice in the future.

Ask. It goes something like this (after expressing the above) “I realized I’m really missing that support and advice to do the big things I’m working on like… (list them). I could really use a trusted mentor. Would you be up for it?” Don’t beat around it. Tell them what you want and make a big deal about it. Not only will they be honored but they’ll really want to deliver!

Constantly reinforce their value. I sometimes send ten hand written thank you notes in a week. Sometimes for something specific, but just as often as a reminder of how much someone’s relationship means to me. Keep yourself in the front of their mind. Do it with gratitude above all else.

Help. Relationships only work if both do their part. Even if someone is your guru, that doesn’t mean you can’t return a favor. Maybe you know someone they should meet or you find a book or article that they’ll love. Buy the book and send it with a note. Better yet, drop it by their house. There is a way to help any and everyone. It will not go unnoticed.

Weave them into your story. Invite them places. Go on workouts. Do things you both enjoy. They might not have time but at least they know you’re interested. The more interactions, the more powerful the relationship. The more in-person the better.

Ask for help. Giver’s high is addictive. People love helping others, especially with things they’re good at. You chose the mentors you did because they can help you do the things that matter. Don’t go too long without asking them a question or for help; maybe every month or two at the least. Asking for help strengthens the relationship. Let them know they’re needed.

I love all of Scott’s suggestions – especially the fifth one: Help.  Mentoring goes two ways.  My best mentoring relationships were reciprocal.  All of my mentors were curious and inquisitive.  Sometimes the roles were reversed.  They asked what I was reading, and then read the books themselves – so they could learn and we could discuss the ideas.  These folks kept growing themselves.  Just because someone is your mentor, that doesn’t mean that you can’t help him or her in his or her career success journey.

The career success coach point here is simple common sense.  We all need mentors to help us create our life and career successScott Dinsmore has some great ideas about how to build a strong mentoring relationship.  Put them into play and you’ll not only be able to create great mentoring relationships, you’ll be on your way to the life and career success you want and you deserve.

That’s the career advice I take from Scott Dinsmore’s ideas on creating the perfect mentor.  What do you think?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always, thanks for reading my daily thoughts on life and career success.  I appreciate it.


PS: If you haven’t already done so, you can download a free copy of my latest career success book Success Tweets Explained.  It’s a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to http://budurl.com/STExp to claim your free copy.  You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.

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