How to Find a Mentor Who Can Accelerate Your Career

If you’re willing to put in the effort and make it work, follow these 5 steps to find a mentor. You’ll not only find the perfect mentor by your side but also feel empowered to take your career where it needs to be.

1. DEFINE WHAT YOU NEED

You’ll not have one mentor throughout life. Your needs will change and so will be your mentor. Don’t rush to find a mentor unless you know what you need first. To do this, think about:

1. What are some of the challenges you’re facing at work?

2. What kind of help do you need?

3. What important qualities do you value in a mentor?

4. What are some of the things you won’t tolerate in a mentor?

5. What experience, knowledge or skills should they possess?

2. SEARCH THE POOL

When you know what you want, it’s easier to reach for it.

1. Think about the people you admire at work. It could be your boss, a senior or someone from another function or team. Anyone match your mentor persona?

2. Look within your network-people you worked with in the past, friends or any other network connection who fits the bill.

3. Ask your friends, colleagues, manager or other acquaintances for mentors they suggest. Does anyone come close?

3. VALIDATE FOR FIT

To find the right mentor, invite the person you wish to be your mentor for a 20-30 mins coffee chat. To ensure they accept your invite, do this:

1. Mention what about their work impresses you and why you admire them.

2. Tell them you need their advice on career or a struggle you’re currently facing at work.

3. Ask them if they will be willing to speak to you for 20-30 mins.

4. REACH OUT AND ASK FOR IT

Make it easy for your mentor to say a yes by sending them a note and explicitly asking for it:

1. Ease into it by reminding them of the previous conversation, their advice and how it worked out for you.

2. Tell them why they would be a perfect mentor and what their mentorship would mean to you.

3. Ask them if they would be willing to spend another 20-30 mins to establish goals, discuss responsibilities, time commitment etc.

5 MAKE IT A TWO-WAY STREET

Your mentor’s job is to help you succeed, but it’s not a one-way street. No relationship can survive if all you do is take without giving anything back in return.

1. Keep them updated on your progress. Let them know how their advice panned out. What worked? What didn’t work? 

2. Inquire about their work from time to time and show enthusiasm from your side by offering help.

3. Share your feedback and ask them to do the same.

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