I’ve been very fortunate to have had many great mentors throughout my career and their importance only increases as you progress up the ladder. Job success does not come down to simply having the talent or a specific skill set. It’s a combination of many factors including social skills, knowledge, experience, ability, business savvy and emotional intelligence and often a mentor can assist you in nurturing one or more of these areas, thereby fast-tracking your success.
It’s not always been easy to find, approach and then keep a mentor but I’ve refined my approach to these 5 easy steps which, when followed, have enabled me to find and keep great mentors.
1. Identify Your ‘Wish List’
There’s nothing more frustrating for a mentor, who is typically busy and time poor, than being approached by someone wanting something but is vague or unclear on what it is they want. Find clarity on what areas you need assistance with before identifying those who can assist you with this skill set, based on their own skills and experience.
2. Research Your Mentor
Ultimately, you want to be learning from someone who has already successfully trodden the path you wish to follow and researching their background thoroughly will help you to ascertain this. It’s also important not to approach someone, asking for their time but not knowing anything about their background because this could be misconstrued as a sign of disrespect.
3. Establish Reciprocity
Mentorship is often unpaid so it’s important that a level of reciprocity be established from the outset. Be clear on what you could possibly offer in return for your mentor’s time. If you’re not confident in having something to offer, just be very vocal about your admiration of them. Share their work, comment on their blogs, retweet their tweets or refer them new business.
4. Prepare Your Pitch
Don’t approach a potential mentor unprepared. Be clear on what you’re asking for and why you’ve chosen them as your mentor. What skills, experience or achievements of theirs do you admire? What specifically would you like to learn from them? Tell them why you would be a good mentee and are worthy of their time and what their commitment would be. Demonstrate that it would be an enjoyable experience to mentor you.
5. Follow Up Quickly
Once your mentor has agreed to the commitment, follow up quickly to lock in the first meeting. If possible, do it on the spot, or if they don’t have access to their calendar, follow up within 24 hours to confirm the details of that all-important first meeting. If left too long, your mentor may feel that you are not committed and decide not to proceed. Also be flexible in terms of making time to fit yourself into their schedule.
Finally, don’t be afraid to seek out more than one mentor and ideally choose those who have a different perspective from you. Ultimately the main aim is to leverage their skills and experience to fast track your own career and this will happen the most quickly if you are challenged and have to think outside your comfort zone.
About Your Guest Blogger: Anna Thomas is the COO of major Australian real estate network, Stockdale & Leggo. She was recognised as a Telstra Business Women’s Awards Finalist in the Corporate and Private Award in 2016, a 2017 Finalist in the Real Estate Business Awards ‘Industry Thought Leader of the Year’ Award and a Bronze Stevie winner in the Woman of the Year category in the 2017 International Business Awards. She is also the Founder and Brand Ambassador of the ‘Empowered Women in Real Estate’ initiative, a community empowering women to believe in themselves and step forward into leadership roles. For further information, interviews or speaking engagements, please contact Chiquita Searle e: firstname.lastname@example.org p: 0423 686 380