Learning how to find a mentor is vital for your practice. Good mentors inspire you, stretch you and open up your mind. Learn more.
I don’t really watch much TV. But one thing I’ve loved to watch is The Voice. The mix of talent, both from the performers and coaches, astounds me and I always wonder if they’ve decided which coach they want to work with before they go on stage (I assume they have!).
When I’ve watched coaches such as Kylie, Will.I.am, Ricky and Joel, I find it fascinating how they pitch their USP (unique selling proposition) and explain why the individuals should choose to work with them. Each sells their expertise and what makes them most relevant to the contestant achieving their dreams. I love seeing how the contestants choose their musical mentor, and I can’t help but draw parallels into the world of female consultants. In fact, I often use The Voice as an example when I ask people if they have a mentor.
As Oprah Winfrey famously said, ‘Surround yourself only with people who will lift you higher’. And when it comes to building a strong, successful personal brand as a female consultant I believe you need to have a mentor in order to lift yourself higher.
Why You Need a Mentor
I have been fortunate to have wonderful mentors in my life, both paid and unpaid. And this has definitely been part of the way I have found success. In general, mentors are extremely important, no matter your industry or niche.
Finding a great mentor can really help you leverage your experience to build your personal brand. Good mentors inspire you, stretch you and open up your mind. They give you a safe place to experiment and ask questions and save you time by helping you find the pathway you need quickly. They give you confidence. In fact, 87% of mentees feel empowered by their mentoring relationship. And good mentors save us mistakes and open us up to their networks.
Without them, you can still make a success of your practice. But it will take a big effort to make things happen and may take a long time to get any traction.
How to Find the Right Mentor
So how do you find a good mentor or the right mentor for you or your specific challenge?
The rules of finding the right mentor are:
1.Know your goal. Be clear about what you’re trying to achieve for the next 12 months. 90 days is too short for a strong mentor relationship and five years is too long. Just focus on what you want by the end of the year. For example, if your goal is to improve your networks then find a mentor who not only does that well but can articulate and show you how they do it.
2. Look for the person who has done ‘that’ already. Ask your friends, colleagues, Facebook mates or LinkedIn connections, or even Google it or Tweet it. Industry bodies can also be a good place to start. You’re not just looking for any mentor. You’re looking for the one that will help you achieve that goal (whatever ‘that’ is) that you’re hoping to nail.
3. Ask if they mentor people. Once you’ve found the right person you may have to pay them for their time. This is an investment in your future and the reason that person has been able to do it means they are successful and likely very busy. A coffee or buying lunch for them is not always going to cut it. Alternatively, you can offer to do something for them like helping them on a project.
4. Be respectful of the value they bring. It has taken them years to work out what you’re wanting to learn in an hour.
5. Rapport is key. Make sure you like and trust them. They don’t have to be your best friend but it’s going to be an open conversation at times. Make sure you’re comfortable working with them. And if you find someone with a similar style and approach as your own, you’ll be able to learn by watching them navigate their own career as well.
Different Mentors for Different Reasons
It’s important to remember that having more than one mentor is very important to your success. Just like The Voice coaches, each mentor will have their own area of expertise and different skillset. You may need one to help you launch your podcast, and another to help you write your book. And you will still need another that understands your industry specifically.
Before getting started on your mentor/mentee journey, ask yourself the following questions:
- What goal would you like to achieve in the next 12 months?
- How committed are you to achieving that goal?
- Who do you know who has already achieved that goal? Think of people you know personally and don’t know personally.
- Do they take on mentees (paid or unpaid)?
- If you need to pay, identify what the value would be to you.
- If you had the opportunity to meet with them, what would be the number 1 thing you want to learn from them?
- How would you know you’ve been successful in achieving that goal?
- How long do they think it might take to learn?
- Whilst mentors might seem like they have it all, what can you help your mentor to achieve?
- How often will you be meeting with them?
I’d love to hear your thoughts…
Jane Anderson is a strategic communications expert, speaker and the author of seven books including the upcoming Catalyst Content. She has over 20 years of experience helping people to communicate confidently. And she is obsessed with authentic influence and human connection to drive business growth in a world of disruption and automation. Jane delivers Content Creation Bootcamps (Virtual and Face to Face), Coaching and Keynotes. To inquire about her working with you or your organisation please contact us here.