How to find the right mentor for you

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Image courtesy of Andy Norton at Flickr.com

Mentorship is a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person.” 

Mentorship programs have become in a decisive and valuable opportunity for many college students and recent graduates. If you belong to one of these two groups, to find a mentor is crucial for the guidance you need during this time of your life.  A mentor is a person that will push your career in countless ways. Having a mentor will help you to manage many situations that are still unknown for you, and will motivate you to do things by yourself. Likewise, a mentor can offer you tools to shape your professional skills, and show you how things stand in your business field. A mentor will give you vehicles to navigate corporate politics, so you can meet the right people to create connections which will make advance your career. With a mentor, you are going to acquire a great experience that will benefit not only your career but also your personal life. However, here comes the big question, who is the right mentor that will help you to do all these things? To find “the mentor” is not an easy task because you have to take into account stuff like your personal preference as well as what you are looking for in a mentor. It is a difficult task, but it is not impossible. You can follow the four steps below before choosing a mentor to propel your career.

Define your objectives for the mentoring relationship

One of the first steps in any project you start is to determine the objectives you aim. Finding a mentor is a big project in your life, so you must start defining the objectives of this project. When you have a clear view of what you are expecting from the mentoring relationship, you can also picture many characteristics that your mentor should have. One exercise you can do is to make a list of these objectives, and write down next to each of them what capabilities a mentor should have to accomplish them. Once you have decided what you want out of your mentoring relationship, you will be able to have a full picture of the person you want for this relationship.

Define what success means for you

Success is a very subjective word, what success means for one person can be the contrary for another one. When you define this particular word, you can look up to people who have achieved your definition of success. With this step, you will close the circle of your possible mentors. You should also value how these people achieve their success, and if you see yourself doing similar actions to succeed. The right mentor is someone you admire and respect professionally, with a career in your field that you want to emulate, so you should have at least the same code of values and ethic ideas. Equally, you can look for a mentor who has professional passions that are similar to yours. By doing this, your point of interests and success will be alike.

Define your learning achievements

A mentor is a person with more expertise, knowledge and wisdom than you. Not only does a mentor know more about your career, but this person also has more life experience. To find the right mentor, you have to know well what you want to learn from that person, professionally and personally. One important thing you can do is to elaborate a list of your professional weaknesses. This will help you to look for a mentor that has strengths where you are weak. To make the most of a mentoring relationship, you have to be with someone that can make you better. Obviously, you cannot be careless with your stronger points, but the improvement of your weaknesses should be a main learning achievement.

Mustang Mentoring_mentor_suzzanne uhland
Image courtesy of Brian Ujiie at Flickr.com

Define personality issues

Personality is a decisive factor when you are looking for a mentor. It is a mentoring relationship, and as in any relationship, your mentor has to be someone you like on a personal level. Even though is not a relationship related to love, you need some kind of chemistry with your mentor. This aspect is really important because you will be sitting down and talking with your mentor for hours, so this person must be someone you feel comfortable with. For instance, you can imagine what personality attributes this person should have, and more importantly, which ones do not. Of course, you do not have to match completely with the mentor personality, but in addition, you can take into account the life experience of this person, and see what you can learn from that.

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