Success in many areas of life depends on personal and professional development, and finding a mentor can help.
You can’t successfully take the journey to personal and professional development alone.
Mentorship simply means a relationship between you (the mentee) and a more experienced person (mentor) that benefits your growth.
How to Find a Mentor
Finding the right mentor is never an easy task. However, if you know how to go about it, you could connect with the one who can transform your life. Here are a few tips on how to find a mentor:
Know What You’re Looking for in a Mentor
The first step in finding a mentor is having a clear picture of what you’re looking for. A few qualities to look for in a mentor include:
- relevant knowledge, expertise, and experience
- enthusiasm to impart their knowledge
- ability to give honest feedback
- passion for the field/skills you want to grow in
There may be many people who can mentor you. However, not all of them can do so successfully. As with any other relationship type, find someone who understands and is willing to invest in you.
Join a Mentorship Platform
There are several mentorship platforms created to help connect mentees to mentors.
Examples of such platforms include:
MentorCruise is one of the best mentorship platforms for those in tech, design, and business
One of its advantages is it’s a two-sided marketplace. Mentees can look for mentors and vice versa. Mentors set prices, usually $150 to $250 per month with a seven-day trial.
GrowthMentor’s most significant selling point is the unlimited calls with mentors. You can also post help requests and have mentors reply to you. You get all this and more starting at $50 per month paid yearly.
Pelion connects developers to experienced mentors in their fields of expertise.
Featuring mentors from top tech companies worldwide, it’s one of the best mentorship platforms for those in tech. Mentors set prices, usually starting at $300 per month.
Clarity operates on a simple model where you browse through their community of experts and request a call with your mentor of choice. Unlike other platforms, you usually only work with a mentor briefly to solve an immediate problem.
Mentors set per-minute rates, as this method is done via a call rather than an ongoing mentorship setup.
Reach Out to Your Existing Network
One of the best ways of finding a mentor is to look within your existing network. Find some people in your network who have already achieved what you want to achieve. Make a list of those people, looking closely at each one to help you narrow your list.
Once you’ve established who will make for a suitable mentor, reach out to them, asking if they’d be willing to take you on as a mentee.
With this method, you don’t have to start a relationship from scratch or hope you and your mentor get along.
If you can’t think of someone you already know, though, reach out to other members of your network. They could potentially recommend a perfect match for you.
Go to Professional Networking Events
Professional networking events connect you to people in your exact industry who have the knowledge, skills, experience, and connections you need.
The key to finding a mentor at professional networking events is to attend as many events as possible. Observe experienced participants and take note of those who fit your desired mentor profile.
Find an Industry Meetup
Industry meetups are similar to professional networking events because they’re full of people in your field looking to learn more, but they’re not strictly about networking. Examples of industry meetups include:
- networking and speaking events
- trade shows
You can also consider attending informal meetups organized by players in your industry or created through online platforms like Meetup.
Attend Volunteer Events or Social Clubs
Volunteer events and social clubs let you meet new people and learn what’s important to them. While these may not necessarily be industry-specific, you never know who you may encounter—perhaps the person cleaning the kennel next to you at the animal rescue is an established person in your field!
Consistently attending volunteer events and social clubs could help you get to know the regulars. Doing this will help you see who will make a suitable mentor for you in a situation outside of work.
While this takes a lot of time on your part and may not work all the time, you could find yourself doing good for your community and having fun, if nothing else.
Use Social Media
Social media helps people worldwide and from all walks of life connect on an equal level.
That’s what makes it an excellent tool for finding mentors.
Most social media platforms allow you to search using keywords and hashtags. These features make it easier to filter according to the specific criteria you’ve set for the type of mentor you need. You can then monitor your potential mentors’ activities to check for authenticity and engagement.
So which social media platforms are best for finding mentors?
The answer depends on which social media platforms are most popular in your industry. However, the platforms that are likely to help you find a mentor online are:
- Facebook (especially Facebook Groups)
A word of advice: Never pitch your prospective mentor outright. To increase the chances of accepting you as a mentee, engage and interact with their posts first. You want them to know who you are and what you value.
4 Tips for Getting the Most of Your Mentorship
Finding the right mentor is only half of the mentorship equation. You must also know how to get the most out of your mentor/mentee relationship. Here are a few tips to help you do that:
1. Have a Goal for Your Mentorship
Sit down with your mentor to discuss what the outcome of the mentorship should be. Doing so will help both of you focus on what matters the most in the mentorship relationship. Without clear-cut goals, you won’t know whether you’re making progress or not.
2. Prepare for Your Sessions
Never attend a mentoring session without first preparing for it. Remember, these sessions are for your benefit, so you must put in the work to ensure you maximize the time your mentor is giving you. Before your meeting, you should:
- Review the notes from your last meeting.
- List down questions you want to ask.
- Set goals for the upcoming meeting.
While it’s your mentor’s responsibility to impart knowledge, you should also play a role in driving the conversations.
3. Know How to Give Feedback
An essential aspect of your relationship with your mentor is the feedback process. While most feedback will come from them, there are several times when you’ll also be expected to provide feedback. Here are a few tips to help you do that:
- Avoid vague statements—be specific.
- Only give feedback when it’s solicited.
- Be descriptive rather than evaluative.
You must also be honest with your feedback. Trying to sugar-coat feedback will only slow down the process. Don’t be rude, but be clear.
4. Learn to Take Constructive Criticism
Part of the growth process involves receiving criticism. Not all feedback you’ll get from your mentor will be positive. You must learn to accept and handle negative feedback well. It’s only when you are open and receptive to constructive criticism that you’ll get the most out of your relationship with your mentor.
Remember, though: Constructive criticism isn’t the same as destructive criticism. The former helps find solutions, while the latter only finds problems. Assume positive intent—maybe you and your mentor communicate differently, or one of you is simply having a bad day.
But, if you’re only finding problems and not solutions, seek a new mentor and kindly exit this relationship. There are plenty of mentors out there!
Why Should You Find a Mentor?
No matter where you are in your business or career, you could benefit from having a mentor.
You can have many mentors as long as their knowledge and experience don’t overlap too much. Each member of your group of mentors should bring something unique to the table.
A few reasons why you must consider finding a mentor include:
Expedite Your Progress
One of the most significant advantages of mentorship is it could speed up your progress toward a goal. Mentors help you avoid common mistakes many in your niche/industry make. They may also show you the right steps to take to get where you want to go. As a result, your progress could be faster.
Extend Your Network
Another reason to consider finding a mentor is it can help expand your professional network. A mentor who has been in the industry for a long time has likely made some valuable connections. Access to a mentor may grant you access to those connections.
Improve Your Professional Skills
One of the best ways to learn and improve a skill is to get someone to teach you. That’s precisely what mentors do. If you want to enhance your professional skills, mentorship may be the best way to go about it.
Widen Your View of Your Field, Niche, or Industry
A common frustration many face in business and on their career paths is hitting a plateau. This usually happens because of not seeing other alternatives and ways to grow. Thankfully, because a mentor can often see the bigger picture, they could advise you on continuing to move on an upward trajectory.
As you can see, mentorship has several benefits for both your personal and professional development.
Mentorship is an essential part of the success equation. Whether you want to master digital marketing, programming, or any other career discipline, the best way to develop yourself is through mentorship. No matter your field, industry, or even level of expertise, mentorship is one of the most effective ways to help you level up.
For that to happen, however, you must know how to find a mentor. Using the advice outlined above, you can improve the chances of finding the right mentor.
Have you ever gone through mentorship or mentored someone? What was the experience like?