In part 1 of this series, I defined the difference between a mentor, mate or mentee.
As a high-achieving woman who is a Career, Business & Life Master Strategist, there has been no greater impact on my career, business or life than having mentor(s).
The benefit of mentorship hasn’t only been through my role as a mentee, I’ve also realized the power of being a mentor and having a mate along the way.
The largest misconception I have noticed is the thought you can’t be mentored unless you have an official relationship with someone who confirms he/she is your mentor. Let me assure you that this is an old and limiting belief.
I spent part of my business career being mentored by Arianna Huffington, Indra Nooyi, Susan Taylor, Serena Williams, Folorunsho Alakija and Ali Brown. None of them knew it, though. I believe simply listening to someone’s speeches, reading their articles and blog posts, or exchanging thoughts with them via social media, can all be considered ‘being mentored’.
My definition of mentorship is a personal development endeavor in which a more experienced/knowledgeable person guides a less experienced/ less knowledgeable person.
With that being said, you won’t get an argument from me about whether formal mentorship is more effective. It’s much more effective! A relationship with established roles and defined expectations always gets optimal results.
So how do you structure a formal mentoring relationship, especially with someone who is highly sought after? Well, the first thing to know is while it may seem against conventional thought, whatever you do, please, please, please do not ask someone to be your mentor.
This seems strange, right? You would think in order for someone to be a mentor, you would need to ask them.
The problem is when we ask we’re typically asking strangers, people we have only met recently, or those we don’t yet have strong bonds with.
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, sums it up best in her book Lean In:
“If someone has to ask the question, the answer is probably no. When someone finds the right mentor, it is obvious. The question becomes a statement. Chasing or forcing that connection rarely works.”
So the real question is not so much “how to ask someone to be a mentor” but rather, “how to build a rapport with someone you would like to become your mentor”/
Stay tuned for part 3 of this series on Mentor, Mate, or Mentee for the top 5 steps to getting the best mentor possible.
This next post is definitely a don’t miss!
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