How do you Ask Someone to be Your Mentor?
Posted on July 2, 2019
“A lot of people put pressure on themselves and think it will be way too hard for them to live out their dreams. Mentors are there to say, “Look it’s not that tough. It’s not as hard as you think. Here are some guidelines and things I have gone through to get to where I am in my career.”- Joe Jonas
Do you dream of a successful career? Are you haunted by a fear that you may not be able to accomplish it? Converting your dreams into reality lies totally in your hands! A carefully planned approach will help you achieve success. This is where a mentor has a role to play in your lives. A mentor guides you to recognize your potential and how to perform to your full potential.
Mentoring can be required at any stage of one’s life. It can be as a student, a professional, people even have mentors guiding them through their personal lives.
When we speak of a mentor, we imagine an old grey-haired man or woman advising us about our career/lives. But, contrary to this belief, mentors can be young professionals! Mentoring is not dependent on age, but it is dependent on what an individual has learned from life irrespective of their age.
Why is mentoring becoming popular?
Mentoring has become popular at all levels in an organization.
As per the Harvard Business Review , in CEO’s formal mentoring programs, 84% reported that they became more proficient in their roles with mentoring.
Retention rates were higher for mentees (22% higher) and mentors (20% higher) than for employees who did not participate in mentoring programs. (Source: Gartner, in a study of over 1,000 employees over a period of 5 years)
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that 71% of the Fortune 500 companies invest in mentoring programs. (Source: Centre for Workplace Leadership 2016)
There are specific mentoring programs catering to the unique needs of a mentee:
Youth Mentoring Program:
A youth mentoring program entails matching youth mentees with adult mentors who provide support, guidance, and opportunities to enable the mentee to succeed and accomplish their goals. Long-lasting relationships are established between the mentor and the mentee where the mentor serves as a role model, teacher, and advisor.
The objective of peer mentoring is to establish supportive relationships between two people for the purpose of sharing knowledge and experience to enable them to learn from different perspectives. The mentor is more experienced than the mentee and may function as a role model for the mentee besides providing emotional and psychological support.
Business mentorship is when a business owner is guided by an experienced businessperson to take decisions to improve the business and motivate the businessperson to reach greater levels of performance. A business mentor helps a businessperson seek fresh insights into problems and decision-making through unbiased and objective discussions.
Mentoring definitely helps mentees. But before you decide on asking someone to mentor you there are certain factors that you need to discover:
Mentoring Factors That Needs to Discover
You need to be clear about why you are looking for mentorship. What do you expect to achieve with mentoring? This will help you choose the right type of mentor. Actually, mentoring definitely helps the mentee but mentoring also improves the performance of mentor as an executive.
Type of mentorship
Once you have identified your need for mentoring, you will need to choose the type of mentorship you require. Whether you need a professional or personal mentor, peer mentor, business mentor, etc.
You can look for mentors through social channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook, iConnectX, etc. You can also try to find mentors in your professional networks, etc. Most mentees prefer to look for mentors outside their social circle as mentoring by a known person may be a little awkward. But it is the choice of the individual.
There are certain qualities that you need to look for in a mentor:
- Good communication skills
- You should feel comfortable with the mentor
- He/she should have relevant experience in the field
- He/she should be knowledgeable
- Although you may admire a business executive who is holding a very high position, it may not be appropriate or your best choice to ask them to mentor you if you are at a very junior level. Choose a mentor who is next in line or a little senior to you. Such people are more likely to mentor you
- It is recommended not to ask someone who you are directly reporting to in your workplace to become your mentor
Once you have identified the individual you would like as your mentor, next comes the toughest job, “How do you ask someone to be a mentor?”
When you plan to ask someone to become your mentor, ask them in person. Avoid requesting their mentorship through written communication such as an email or chat message. It is always better to ask the person in a personal meeting.
It is not advisable to approach someone and ask them to become your mentor in the first meeting. It is a good idea to request an informal meeting over a coffee just a quick discussion. A casual meeting will also help you assess your comfort level with the prospective mentor.
If you are comfortable and want the individual to mentor you, you can tell them that you admire their work and ask if they could advise you regarding your career.
If the person agrees, you could suggest regular meetings for mentorship. At this stage, it is important for you to clearly communicate with your mentor what type of guidance you seek. For instance, let your mentor know if you need guidance regarding your career, or a career change, or maybe to resolve some issues you might be facing at your workplace, etc. Alternatively, you could ask your mentor to train you in a specific area.
You need to be confident and definite of what you expect from your mentor, otherwise the mentoring will be directionless, and a lot of time will be wasted on both sides. Let your mentor know what you expect to achieve through the mentoring. This will also help the mentor plan a mentoring program that will benefit you.
Once the mentor has agreed for mentoring, you can mutually decide the frequency of meetings. It is also a good idea to decide the agenda for the meetings so that they are focused and have direction.
Although a mentor may not charge a fee for mentoring, you can offer something in return to your mentor. It could be a gift, service or anything that could benefit the mentor.
One of the best avenues to find a good mentor and benefit from mentoring is iConnectX! The only social platform that helps professionals connect and network with executives and industry experts. The platform includes many professionals from various industries, enabling them to donate, buy and share time for a donation. The donation is paid to a nonprofit of the mentor’s choice. Join today at www.iconnectx.com and find your mentor!