Krishna De wrote in the Sunday Times article 7. of september (http://www.krishnade.com/blog/2008/howtofindamentor/), that one of the suggestions she made to enhance your presentation skills is to work with a mentor.
But what can you do if there is no formal mentoring programme in your company?
Where might you start in finding a mentor to support your career progress?
Here are 10 tips to help you find and get the most out of working with a mentor:
1. Consider why you are looking for a mentor – Is it about helping you progress your career? Do you want to expand your knowledge into a different sector? This will help you focus on finding a relevant mentor.
2. Explore what you are looking for in a mentor – Are you looking for someone to be a great sounding board? Do you want someone that is willing to share their personal experience and expertise? This will help you be clear in your communication as you approach a potential mentor.
3. Review how important it is to have a mentor close to hand – The experience and personality of your mentor is going to be a factor when approaching someone. But how important is it for you to find someone to work with face to face – or would you enjoy working with someone by phone, by Skype or even by video conferencing making use of the new social media platforms such as Oovoo.com?
4. Take stock of what you will bring to the mentoring relationship – Are you committed to taking action? What specific experience have you had that might be of interest to a mentor? In successful mentoring relationships, both the mentor and the mentee find value in the relationship, so get clear about your unique experience that will enrich the relationship between you and your potential mentor.
5. Review your immediate network – Who is it that you already know that you trust and value? Is there someone in your workplace you could approach? Perhaps your mentor could be someone you have met in a professional network you are a member of? Or could your mentor be someone you have worked with in the past? Take the time to consider all the people you already know as a potential mentor as that will make it easier for you to approach them.
6. Focus your approach – Before approaching a potential mentor, do your research. Who do you know that has worked with the potential mentor? What’s their view on how open, challenging yet supportive this person may be? Ask for advice on how to best approach the potential mentor.
7. Prepare for the meeting – Once you have identified one or two people you would like to consider to be your mentor, approach them one at a time and request an exploratory meeting either by phone or face to face. If the potential mentor does not know you, is there someone who can make the introduction for you? Make sure you have your updated CV available to provide background detail on your career to-date.
8. Outline an agenda – Keep your request for an initial meeting to be around 30 minutes – this meeting is to connect you with a potential mentor and not a first mentoring meeting. Your goal is to outline why you are looking for a mentor and to explore if they might consider being your mentor. Don’t put your potential mentor under pressure to make a decision immediately – they may need to reflect on your request given their other commitments. Also look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Dp9YdNZVGA&feature=related for how to break the ice.
9. Follow up after the meeting – After the meeting take time to follow up with the potential mentor, perhaps by sending them a handwritten note thanking them for their time meeting you. If the person you approached is not able to be a mentor for you, you could engage their support in finding a mentor.
10. Take action – If you have found a mentor to work with, then plan your first meeting and schedule it in the calendar. You can then prepare a draft agenda covering the subject areas that you would like to cover in your first meeting such as confidentiality, the way you plan you connect, how frequently you want to meet and the scope of what you would like to discuss. Seek your mentor’s input to the draft agenda – preparing for the meeting will ensure that your mentor sees that you committed to the relationship with them and will help get you off to a flying start.
Apply these ten tips and you’ll be sure to find a mentor to support you in expanding your professional success.
This article was initially published as part of a feature in Marketing Age titled ‘Get Thee A Guru’ which you can access HERE : http://www.krishnade.com/media/20080630-Marketing-Age-Get-Thee-a-Guru.pdf
This is a clip from www.youtube.com on how to break the ice when you meet your mentor for the very first time.
More videos will follow.
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Some say that you got a mentor for a restricted time you finished the adept/mentor relationship and then the contact stop. If you got a good relation with your mentor, the relation don`t stop.
For some time ago I talked to an adept in the very first mentor program I coordinate in 2000/2001 as a project within an organization called Junior Chamber International (www.jci.cc) and she still got contact with her mentor after 8 years.
This was a mentor program JCI offered for young people within Young Enterprise (www.ja-ye.org) in Norway (www.ue.no) and she was 16 years old.
So she had contact with the mentor from 16 to 24, so this was a really good job from the mentor. And the adept really understand what mentoring could do for here in a period in life where there is a lot happening.
I am writing two books about mentoring. They are handbooks for the involved part in a mentoring relationship.
I have learned in my years working with mentoring that both adepts and mentors don`t get the full potential out of the time they spend together.
The reflection part and the overall perspective is less because they take easy on the fact that writing down all thoughts is important.
It is important if you want personal growth to take notes. So my project is to find some tool to make it more easy for both adepts and mentors.
I am writing one book for the adept and one for the mentor. Mentoring is an exciting topic and it is easy to find a lot of material, but more difficult to select the most important.
Care to comments or tip me of topics you are more than welcome
I read an article about getting a younger mentor (in Norwegian at http://www.konsulentguiden.no/index.cfm?id=147082&side=1).
The article said that it is a trend among middle-aged leaders to get younger mentors.
It`s called “Reverse mentoring” and Jack Welch (www.welchway.com), then chairman at General Electric (www.ge.com), was maybe the first to try this.
When he ordered 600 of the leaders to get a younger mentor in 1999.
Matt Starcevich at Center for Coaching & Mentoring in Oklahoma (www.coachingandmentoring.com) says that reverse mentoring can give advantage for the organization.
He found out that 41% used reverse mentoring to learn technical expertise, and 26% used it to give leaders a more youthful perspective.
Of course it is important that the older leaders don`t have any prejudice against younger people.
What do you think about reverse mentoring? Do you have some experience with it? Tell me!
The popular advice is «find a mentor».
But before you get one you should ask yourself «How ready am I to be mentored»?
Your readiness will have a significant impact on how successful and productive the mentoring partnership will be.
Follow the link and take this quiz that will give you a start in assessing your readiness..
I do a lot of training together with a good partner Kai Roer (www.bebetter.no). We do training in a lot of themes within mentoring, coaching and leadership.
Trainings like: «The leader as an educator», «Coaching to lead» and «Mentoring tools».
We both do it in Junior Chamber International and in companies.
I will use this title to tell you small histories happened because of mentoring and networking.
I got a mail for a couple days ago, with a request from a young boy. He ask if I would like to be his mentor, because he was going to start up his own company. He got my name from a colleague at work, the colleague was an adept at a mentor program I had 6 years ago. And she told him that he should contact me because I was a good mentor, and could help him.
This was a very pleasant request and I am looking forward to meet him and hear more about his business idea. Maybe I will be traveling with him on his journey as an entrepreneur, I keep you posted.
This is a good story because it shows how important networking is, and how old acquaintances suddenly can give exciting new jobs.
Today I attend a pilot mentorprogram in three counties (Hordaland, Troms and Sogn og Fjordane) within Innovation Norway (www.innovasjonnorge.no). The adepts are young entrepreneurs and mentors are more experienced business people.
It is wonderful to sit and hear a lot of people talk about mentoring and all the benefits. Especially Shahzad Rana (www.questpoint.no) with his long experience as an entrepreneur and in the judge in the program at TV2 (www.tv2.no) «Skaperen», with his dear focus on entrepreneurship. And Jeroen Scüssel (www.startnowcoaching) talking about the tools as an mentor`.
And Ingrid Roynesdal (www.roynesdal.no)talking about here experience with mentors as an adept. With here many years as an tennisplayer (winner of 14 norwegian championship and 15 years as an professional pianist. She has a very long experience as an adept using various mentors.
In the end Jennybeth Ekeland (www.aff.no) was talking about all the myths about adept and mentors and their relationship.
A very good day and I am looking forward to hear more about their year as an entrepreneur with an mentor. Good luck everyone!
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