Five Best Practices When Searching For Your Business Mentor

Director of Operations at YEDI – A sector-agnostic business accelerator, venture capital fund and academic institute.

A mentorship is more than people tend to think it is. It’s a fostered and nurtured relationship that benefits both sides. It can help both people become better versions of themselves. Mentorship provides a healthy business relationship that you can use to grow your skills, work on parts of you that can be improved and help guide you up the business ladder that you’ve been climbing.

In this article, you’ll learn about the power of mentorship and five ways to find a business mentor who’s right for you.

The power of being a mentee.

A part of mentorship that many people don’t talk about is the fact that a mentee can provide growth and benefits to the mentor as well. It’s a two-way street that allows a mentor and a mentee to work together collaboratively.

When you find the right mentor for you, you may provide them with the feeling of giving back while they help you achieve your goals. You may also provide them a sense of accomplishment and continued encouragement. They will see where you’re at in your career and remember that they started there as well. This can provide the mentor encouragement to continue their work.

Now, how to find the right business mentor for you? Here are five key recommendations to look for and keep in mind.

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1. Be specific about what goals you want to achieve.

Before you reach out to your dream mentor, spend time alone thinking about what you want to get out of a mentorship. Create some tangible goals you’d like to achieve, write down career skills you want to improve on and map out where you are in your career and where you’d like to be.

2. Find someone who has different strengths than you.

When you decide that you’d like to invest in a mentor, it’s not a good idea to just pick your boss or the CEO of your company and ask for them to be your mentor. They may not be the right person. And wouldn’t it be upsetting to spend months together only to realize it’s not a great fit?

When looking for a mentor, here are some things to consider:

• Think of the skill sets and personal/professional traits that you’re hoping to improve through mentorship. Write these skills and traits down and then write down a list of people who emulate those things.

• Find someone who has different strengths or skill sets as you that you’re hoping to gain and improve. This way, you can observe how they work through certain situations with their strengths.

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3. Learn each other’s feedback style.

Within any relationship, communication is the glue that holds everything together. You have to be able to communicate well in order to grow well. Learning how each of you communicates and presents feedback will be key in making assessments useful.

Consider what type of feedback works well for you. There are many different types of feedback such as negative, positive, negative feed-forward and positive feed-forward.

Once you know what type of feedback resonates with you the most, be sure to share that with your mentor. You can also ask which four types of feedback they normally use when in a leadership or mentorship role. If it’s different to the type of feedback you’re used to, consider if the new way could be a beneficial addition to the growth you’re after.

4. Don’t check out once you feel challenged.

You will feel challenged during the time when you’re being mentored. If you feel that you’re not challenged, you may not be with the right mentor. It’s crucial to remember to not check out once you’ve been challenged. Whether you’re being tested on your word, your progression or your way of thinking, it can be triggering. But, you’re being mentored to help become a better version of yourself.

You can’t grow in your comfort zone. Check yourself and snap out of any negative thinking loop that you’re spinning for yourself. Be thankful and grateful that someone cares enough about you to provide you the challenge that you’re about to overcome.

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5. Understand that you can have more than one mentor.

When searching for a mentor who’s right for you, realize that you can have more than one mentor. You can have a mentor when it comes to leadership and then another mentor for bettering your language and communication skills.

One person may not provide everything for you. Having different business mentors for different areas of your career can provide you long-term growth and success.

Go find your business mentor or mentors.

Now that you know these five different ways to help find the business mentor who’s right for you, it’s time to go and find them. Before you reach out to someone for mentorship, create those tangible goals mentioned above. Consider the path you want to take with your mentor. Think about what you want your mentorship relationship to look and feel like.

Having all of this prepared for when you reach out to your potential mentor will help them to fully understand your aspirations when it comes to mentorship.

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