How to Select the Right Mentor
Mentoring is about a relationship based on the exchange of personal skills and personal aspirations to achieve mutual objectives.
Are you looking for a mentor?
If the answer is “yes”, then you have already made several important decisions, such as:
- I need help, assistance, guidance, advice, etc.
- I’m looking for some special person.
- I’m ready to hear the truth.
- I’m willing to accept advice.
- Now is the time to do something.
When looking for a mentor, you must remember that it is a relationship. Selecting a mentor is as important as choosing a lover. A mentor, if they are good, will get to know you intimately, not sexually, but intimately none the less. Mentoring is a very personal. It’s entrusting someone with your most intimate thoughts, ideas, perceptions, hopes and dreams.
You must be ready to share with your mentor such things about yourself like:
- What are your aspirations?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What is your character (disposition, values, beliefs, morals, etc)?
- What are your expectations?
- How hard are you willing to work?
- Can you take constructive criticism?
- Can you recognize constructive criticism?
- Are you a good communicator?
A mentor will assist in guiding you through your challenge. Change is a challenge, even when you want to change.
In order to receive constructive assistance, you must be willing to be open, truthful, humble, and somewhat vulnerable. If the mentor is to really help you, you cannot be embarrassed, ashamed, untruthful, or selective in what you share about yourself or about the job.
You must be willing to learn, to put the required time and effort into the relationship, and, if it’s not working for you, you must be able to let go
About the Mentor
In selecting a mentor you must answer certain questions about the individual (the ‘candidate’) you are considering for this important relationship. Your selection criteria should address positive responses to the following:
- Does the candidate know me enough to invest in me?
- Is the candidate forthright and honest?
- Is the candidate someone I want to emulate? Why?
- Can the candidate keep confidences?
- Is the candidate a good communicator?
- Is the candidate a good listener
- Does the candidate have good people skills?
- Will the candidate be brutally honest with me?
- Has the candidate mentored others?
Your mentor (candidate) should be someone who cares about you, assumes responsibility for the relationship, challenges you, supports you in meaningful ways, and keeps you on track.
Someone in a position of authority (your boss, supervisor, etc.) does not automatically make a good ‘candidate’. Don’t discount them, but make sure they meet the selection criteria. People who select their bosses or supervisors only to “brown-nose” usually are disappointed with the results. Remember, the bosses learned a thing or two on their way up the career ladder.
About the Relationship
The relationship between a mentor and a mentee is very special and very serious. It should be treated as a gift between two people committed to take the time, effort, and investment to truly make a difference.
Remember a relationship is a two-way street so the relationship has to be beneficial to both the mentor and mentee. The mentee should receive the direction they desire, and the mentor should receive the satisfaction of contributing to someone’s growth.