How many times have you heard about the importance of mentorship?
It could be that you heard a keynote speaker or podcast guest going into detail about the impact a mentor had in their life. Maybe mentorship has come up in your workplace or among conversations with friends.
No matter how mentorship has been brought up in your life, you may have found yourself wondering how you can find a mentor. It definitely does not seem like an easy thing to do.
How do you find the right mentor? How do you make the ask? The process can feel scary, overwhelming, or uncomfortable—but it doesn’t have to be this way!
Mentorship is a great way to develop professionally and personally. If you want a mentor but are unsure where or how to find one, the tips below can help.
1. Use Your Network
The right mentor might already be a part of your life, even if you haven't realized it! Your established network could be chock-full of great mentors, you just need to take a few strategic steps to find them.
First, decide on what skills you want to develop and topics you want to cover. Maybe you want to improve your public speaking, or learn more about a new industry or job type. Make a list of these topics, then review your contacts to see who could possibly help you in these areas. Once you’d identified a few people, reach out over email, phone, or LinkedIn to ask for a coffee or lunch chat. It may be difficult the first time, but after you’ve made the ask once, it will get easier every time.
As Seamus Ruiz-Earle shared in a recent Ripple Effect podcast episode, it’s important to be prepared when going into a mentorship relationship. Here’s just a snippet of his advice about how to develop a relationship with a mentor:
Hear more great tips on mentorship from Seamus by listening to his episode, Why the Right Mindset Matters Most to Success, now!
2. Find a Mentorship Organization
It can be difficult and a bit overwhelming to find a mentor on your own, especially if you’re looking for a more long-term relationship. Luckily, many organizations exist that can help you find a mentor.
These organizations help facilitate mentorship matches based on specific areas of interest, expertise, and work experience. This ensures you and your mentor can easily exchange helpful ideas, quickly relate, and bond over shared experiences, milestones, and goals.
Do some research online to see what options are available within your area. Participating in a local program is usually the most fruitful because it can help extend your local network and align you with great opportunities within your city. Program style can vary, from group mentoring where one mentor works with a group of four to five mentees, to individual mentoring where you are paired with one mentor for a specified amount of time.
Pro Tip: Mentorship doesn’t always have to be a long-term relationship. Sometimes just a meeting or two can be enough to help you level up a skill or learn something new.
3. Turn to a Coworker
Some of the best mentorship actually happens within the workplace. You don’t have to formally ask a coworker to be your mentor to reap the benefits of a mentor-mentee relationship with them. It can easily happen organically by strategically setting some time aside each quarter or every other month for a discussion.
Your boss’s boss may be your automatic go-to as a mentor, but don’t limit yourself to just this one person. There may be a handful of coworkers who have years of experience and insight into other areas that could be helpful to you as well. Some larger organizations have internal mentorship programs, so check with your HR department to see if this is an option or something you could help implement at your company.
Related: 5 Ways to Create a Company Culture Focused on Personal Growth
4. Join a Leadership Program
Are there any leadership development programs in your city or state? Participating in one is a great way to develop some strong mentoring relationships. You’ll be in a “class” of about 30-50 people from a variety of backgrounds, industries, and areas who can all help you learn, grow, and develop.
Some leadership programs have a mentorship aspect built in where they match you with a local leader. But all help facilitate relationships between classmates, and you may also meet some great potential mentors during class presentations and activities. These programs are a great way to build relationships with people you may not meet otherwise.
To find a program in your city, check out your local government, community, or chamber of commerce website. Also use the search terms leadership academy, leadership program, and leadership development. Oftentimes, you can find programs that are based in your city, county, and state, providing a wide variety of options to choose from.
Find Your Next Mentor Now
We all want to grow personally and professionally, and finding a mentor can help you do that. By looking into the four areas above and making a few strategic asks, you can find a mentor who can help you develop, learn, and grow. You won’t regret taking the time to invest in yourself and your future.
Want more pointers on finding a mentor and developing strong relationships? Listen to the Ripple Effect episode Why the Right Mindset Matters Most to Success now for excellent tips and advice.