- Know what you want. Before you begin scouting for a mentor, you need to know what you want in life. Just as you need to have a destination in mind before you begin looking for a map, that is the same way you need to have clear goals and objectives of the direction you want your life to go before looking for someone to guide you.
- Decide the areas in which you need mentoring. You may have more and urgent needs in some areas than in others. For instance, although you want to be a good parent, you may decide that you do not require mentoring in that area and focus on professional competence instead. Similarly, you may decide you want a mentor in both areas. The point is that you have to decide.
- Have an image of what your mentor should be like. You have your aims and your ideals. These will help you picture how you want to be in the nearest future and also what to expect from your would-be mentor. This is very important.
- List the places where your mentors are likely to be. This will narrow your search. If you are looking for mentors in your career, you may look within your organization or in similar organizations. If you are into publishing, you may look for people in your publishing company or in other top houses. If you are a student, you may look inside your school or in other schools, or even in your neighborhood.
- Be teachable. Cultivate a learning spirit. To get a good mentor, you need to be humble. A haughty or know-it-all attitude will discourage anyone from accepting to mentor you.
- Be proactive. Learn all there is to learn about your prospective mentor and his/her interests. This will give you both a common ground to interact as well as show the mentor that you are smart, serious and willing to learn.
- Don’t make it sound like work. While approaching a prospective mentor, don’t make their work look like a burden – like they have to babysit and spoon feed you! Make it light and fun and you can be sure that they will accept.
- Be polite. Don’t approach a would-be mentor with an attitude of entitlement. You are asking for a favor and it will cost them time, energy and effort, maybe even money. Learn to appreciate that and act accordingly.
Additional tips? Do leave us comments.