As a high-achieving Master Solutionist/Strategist, I discovered 5 steps that I use (as well as steps that were used on me) to seal the deal on my most gratifying mentoring relationships.
- Become Mentee Material
First and foremost, are you somebody you yourself would like to mentor? Are you open, flexible, resilient and respectful? Are you eager to learn and commit to modifying how you’re interacting in the world so you can have even more success, rewards and happiness?
If the answer is ‘no’ don’t move to step 2 until you nail this one first. It took several failed mentoring relationships for me to appreciate the importance of becoming what I call ‘mentoring ready’ Be someone who is already actively building his/her life, and more importantly be someone who is demonstrating that building process on a daily basis.
- Make Sure The Mentor Shares Your Values
Don’t simply see their awards and accolades – because you want the same awards and accolades. You must believe he/she is the right person to guide you to your next level.
It’s critical that you know if your potential mentor has the same values you do. Values are essentially the ‘guidebook’ to life. If your mentor has different values, it means they play by a different set of rules. Some of which you may consider immoral, unethical or non essential.
Most people searching for a mentor don’t focus on values because they either don’t know their own (and so don’t have anything to match against) or they don’t want to expend the effort to assess someone else’s values.
Determining someone’s values requires dedication. You must watch their actions/reactions over time. While values are key, I don’t believe any other similarities are as critical. Therefore, your mentor doesn’t need to be the same ethnicity, religion, gender, or nationality as you.
My greatest mentors have all been different from me in many aspects, but we always had the same values in common. Shared values are the single most important matchmaking category for long-term success (and that’s in all relationships).
- Be An Advocate For Their Work!
Tweet their posts, comment in a positive way on their blogs, share their updates, start a discussion on LinkedIn about a post they’ve made, promote and attend their live speaking engagement or event, and the list goes on.
In short, offer your unique voice, perspectives, experiences and resources to further the conversation that these influencers have sparked. Remember you are to be of service to them. It takes time but during that time you will learn how to shift your mindset to ‘giving with no expectation’.
- Elevate Your Value To Them Over Time
Go beyond the comments and offer ideas, refer new clients or business to them. This increased value will move you from someone your possible mentor views as merely a member of their audience to a member of their network.
This is a critical step. I see so many people not doing this step and it’s the one strategic move that will differentiate you from ‘mentee potential’ to ‘mentee personified’.
- Don’t Ask For Mentorship, Make A Statement
Going back to the Sandberg’s quote, you’ll know your relationship is in the right place for formal mentorship when you don’t have to ‘ask’ but simply say – ‘you’re my mentor.’
At the right time, I simply said: ‘thanks for being such a great mentor.’
Finding a great mentor can seem daunting, but start where you are. Mentors need to be people to whom you have demonstrated your potential – who know how you think, act, communicate, contribute and show up.
Finally, they have to like, trust and believe in you already (why else would they help you otherwise). They also need to believe with absolute certainty that you’ll put to great use all their input and feedback.
What’s your thought?
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