Is mentoring right for you?
Prior to embarking on a mentoring relationship there are a few key things to consider before determining if it is the right path for you.
A good starting point is to consider why do you want to have a mentor and what specific challenges are you looking to address? The more carefully you consider what skills and experience you are looking for then the better the mentoring match will be.
During the first stage of the mentoring process, you will be asked to complete a profile that will be used for matching and as part of this you will need to be clear on what skills, knowledge and expertise you are looking for.
2. Develop a vision of the future you desire
This will enable you to identify an appropriate mentor who can help you achieve your desires. Having a vision that you can work towards will help keep the relationship purposeful and on track.
3. Experience matters
Mentoring relationships usually allow the mentee to access an additional depth of knowledge which can be transformational. Be clear on what type of experience will be beneficial for you.
4. Be specific on why you have selected your mentor.
Explain why you have chosen a particular professional to be your mentor. The mentor is giving you their time and attention so it is good to be able to share with them tangible and specific reasons why you would like them to mentor you.
5. Seek support, not direction
A good mentor is someone that can support you in achieving your goals. Whilst a mentor can help you to set those goals ultimately, they are your goals, so you need to set them to ensure they take you in the direction you want to go. A good mentor can then help to lift you up and give you the tools you need to succeed regardless of your path.
6. Communicate your goal
What does a successful mentoring relationship outcome look like to you, and what specifically do you want to learn? Clearly communicate what your goal is for the partnership and why you are sure that your mentor can get you there.
7. Define your idea of success.
Clearly define what your idea of success looks like for your career. A professional who has proven success in their career will then be in a better position to aid you towards your goals.
8. Are you open to receiving feedback and changing your behaviour
In order for you to move forward and improve your career performance you may need to develop new attitudes and behaviours. You will need to be open to honest, constructive feedback and to take any agreed action.
9. Are you prepared to commit the time to get there?
The final consideration you need to make before committing to a mentoring relationship is whether you have the time to commit to regular meetings and to doing the actions in between meetings that are required to move you towards achieving your goal(s).
Having a mentor is a bit like having a satellite navigation system with you as you embark on your journey to achieve your goals. They will guide you along the way, help to correct you if you take a wrong turning and will help you find the quickest, easiest route to achieving your goals. But just like a satellite navigation system, they won’t do the hard work for you. You still need to be in the driving seat and making the final decision.
Finally, mentors don’t have all the answers you need. You may still make a few mistakes, but valuable experience can be gained when an answer is found by getting through a situation rather than by avoiding it.
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