Navigating Life: The Need Of A Mentor

A good mentor is a blessing, as most of us need guidance and direction to navigate our lives. Finding a good mentor requires identifying, asking, nurturing and maintaining a relationship.

A good mentor, if we are lucky, can empower our career and provide us with untapped opportunities.

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What’s the Right Way to Find a Mentor?

hbr.org

Most of us are afraid to ask a would-be mentor for an initial meeting, due to a fear of rejection. It can feel intimidating, especially if the person isn’t someone who knows you well.

  1. Take some pressure off by reminding yourself that even the would-be mentor could have had mentors in his life.
  2. If you want to connect with someone, start with a simple request, a 20 minute real or virtual coffee break, or even a short Zoom call, as it is low-commitment.
  3. Sending a short email is a good way to request the person, telling them about how you admire their work, and would like to learn from them.

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  • One has to really connect with the mentor and get to know them. You can ask what they do during weekends, what books they are reading, and their hobbies.
  • Connecting at a personal level is refreshing for most people, who would want a break from their work.
  • Be career-specific and ask for questions that help you connect and learn. It is a good idea to send a thank-you note as a follow-up, and let them know what all you learned.

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  • You can build up the case to touch base again in a few weeks in the thank you email.
  • Make follow up meeting requests informal.

In about three to four meetings, you will have a general idea regarding the quality of the mentor and if you want to label the relationship, you can suggest that in the email and see if the person is now officially willing to be your mentor!

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A few tips on how we can maintain our relationship with our mentor:

  1. Let them know how well their invested time is being spent by sending them a summary of what you learn from them.
  2. Keep the follow up emails regular.
  3. While not spamming them, you can send them real time text messages of how their advice is helping you.
  4. Once your mentorship is done, you can keep in touch on a monthly or quarterly basis.
  5. You can offer to help in making a presentation or conducting an online session for them as a goodwill gesture.
  6. Send a heartfelt gratitude as what you have taken from them is priceless.

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