Choosing the right mentor is of paramount importance in mentorship. Having the right mentor who can support and guide your development is a priceless asset.
On the other hand, choosing the wrong mentor could be a complete waste of your time.
Hereunder are 7 important factors to consider when choosing a mentor.
An ideal mentor should be more knowledgeable on the subject matter than you. Therefore, seek out someone who has extensive experience within the field that you will like to develop.
On the other hand, a great mentor need not be someone who has countless years of experience in the field. Sometimes, being able to work along with someone who is just a few steps ahead of you in an area could be helpful.
In this instance, the mentor may have a deeper understanding of the challenges that you are currently facing. This may equip him/her with the ability to provide better support as they are closer to exactly where you are.
Ideally, your mentor should be someone who can inspire and motivate you to achieve your goals.
However, the person must be willing to give tough love when required and not sugar coat areas that need improvement. It must be done in a way that will drive action and not discourage.
According to Frank A Clark, criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.
Alignment of Beliefs
It is important that your world view aligns with that of your mentor. By this I mean that the mentor must believe in your dream and what you want to achieve.
His/her beliefs should match yours so that you can both work effectively together. The individual must be committed to your success.
As an example, imagine you are an accountant who is interested in transitioning your career into engineering. You believe in your heart that this transition is the right move for you.
You have identified someone who you believe is a suitable mentor. However, this individual believes that you are making a big career mistake.
Then, this individual though equipped with the expertise to help you will not be a great fit as his/her view does not align with your vision.
In face to face mentorship, your mentor should be available to provide dedicated one to one time. Regular meetings should be scheduled so that you can both communicate.
Depending on location and time by both parties other mediums of communication may be more suitable. This may include email, telephone calls or Skype calls.
He/ she should present you with actionable steps that you update him/her on during your next meeting. Timelines are critical so that the mentor stays on track and task do not stretch on for long indefinite periods.
On the other hand, your mentor need not be someone who you have met. You can be mentored by an individual through reading their book, or by taking their course.
The social media platform YouTube could also be a great avenue to find a mentor in almost any area. The mentee will need to apply to great level of self-discipline to manage his/her career development.
A perfect example of an incredible leader who never met his mentor was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King was inspired to learn more about Gandhi’s teaching after listening to a lecture at Howard University by Dr. Mordecai W Johnson.
King left the lecture and purchased half dozen books on Gandhi’s life and teachings. Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence was the bedrock of Dr. Martin King Jr’s civil rights movement.
I have written articles on lessons from the life of both Dr. Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi. Feel free to click the previous links to explore.
Confidentiality is a critical factor to consider when choosing a mentor. Whether it is that you need a mentor for your career or life, you need a person who is mature enough to ensure that whatever conversations that you have remain between the both of you.
If you have a career mentor, you may need to discuss certain things concerning your workplace or you manager.
Your mentor must be able to provide you with a safe environment where you can share you concerns without fear. Privacy is therefore important.
When choosing a mentor, consider someone who you naturally mesh well with. Your mentor is someone who you will be in constant contact with. Therefore, ensure that you can get along well with the individual.
Great mentor mentee relationships could evolve into life-long friendships over time. One famous mentor mentee relationship that evolved into a friendship was between that of Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs.
According to the website, The Chronicle of Evidence based mentoring, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs served as a mentor to Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.
Jobs and Zuckerberg met often during the early years of Facebook to discuss business and managerial best practices for the company. Zuckerberg referred to Jobs as a mentor and friend in his tribute when Jobs passed away in 2011.
An effective mentor should be a great communicator. The individual needs to be able to clearly articulate his thoughts. In addition, active listening will ensure that clear instructions and recommendations are provided to the mentee.
The mentor should be able to glean areas that you require support even in instances where you due to lack of knowledge, may fail to communicate requirements.
There are several other articles on mentoring on this blog which you may find valuable. Feel free to click any of the links below to explore:-
33 Great Mentoring Quotes
How To Ask Someone To Mentor You
How To Find A Mentor For Your Career
12 Top Career Mentoring Questions To Ask A Mentee
10 Top Career Questions To Ask A Mentor
6 Valuable Benefits of Mentoring To Advance Your Career
10 Top Questions To Ask A Mentee
17 Top Qualities of A Great Mentee
Five Top Questions To Ask A Reverse Mentee
Choosing the right mentor could make or break your career and personal development.
It is also important that the relationship is beneficially to both the mentor and the mentee. Trust the above pointers are useful when you are choosing your mentor.
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