by Theresa Bradley-Banta
I get a great deal of traffic to my blog from people who are looking for extraordinary questions to ask their mentor. One of the questions those visitors ask most frequently is, “How do I find a great mentor?”
Most of the top entrepreneurs in the business world have had mentors that assisted them in their career, business or psychology. And most of these professionals will continue to have mentors throughout their lives and will go on to mentor others. A mentor is someone who can guide you (or take you under his or her wing) in becoming a better business person and entrepreneur.
Here are the top 5 ways to find a mentor:
#1 Do Your Homework First
Never tell a prospective mentor that you are not sure how they can be of assistance to you or that you do not have a career or business plan. Lay some very real groundwork on your project or idea such as having all the financials in place or a brochure describing your product or service.
If looking for a career mentor do some research on your own about the possible paths you might take. What are you interested in doing? How hard are you willing to work?
#2 Know Yourself and Your Business, Project or Career Plan
List your strengths and weaknesses. Describe your goals, business and/or project to help clarify where a mentor can be of assistance. Write down the types of qualities you desire in a mentor. Evaluate your own personality type. Think about what you are looking for in a relationship. The clearer you are about this, the better idea you can give a mentor of what type of support you need.
#3 Use Your Connections
Your alumni associations, professors, employer, clients, social media friends and connections are all good resources for finding a mentor.
#4 Join a Group
Utilize social media. LinkedIn has thousands of groups. Look for groups in your area of specialization. Join and post discussions. Ask questions. Investment groups, local business groups and networking groups have been established to gather like-minded people and to assist them in their business growth.
#5 Ask for Referrals
Tell everyone you know—your friends, family, boss, co-workers, retired executives, neighbors—that you are looking for a mentor. Everyone you talk to is a potential resource for finding a mentor.
Tip: Be prepared to be a good mentee. Ask your mentor what you can do in preparation for a mentoring session and be willing to do the work necessary for your first call. Always take the advice of a mentor seriously and follow-up on suggestions or “homework” assignments.
And always send a thank you letter or e-mail to everyone who supports or mentors you.
If you’re looking for a mentor or you want to make the most of your current mentoring relationship, download 7 Surefire Ways to Ask Someone to be Your Mentor.
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We love to encourage mentoring relationships!
Whether you are an entrepreneur, an artist, a musician, an athlete, a student, a writer, a politician, a parent, a business owner, a teacher, etc. a great mentor can help you succeed at what you do.