How to Build a Great Relationship with a Mentor
by Mark Horoszowski
I highly suggest consuming the full piece here (5 min. read time)
“While 76% of working professionals believe that a mentor is important to growth, more than 54% do not have such a relationship.” — Mark Horoszowski
Mentors can help you perform better, advance your career faster, and possibly experience more work-life satisfaction.
Here were some of the steps Mark listed to find a mentor/establish the relationship:
- “Define your goals and specific needs: By first understanding where you want to be, as well as the biggest opportunities and gaps to getting there, you’ll identify how a mentor can truly be helpful to you.
- Write the “job description” of your ideal mentor: Write out the type of mentor that can help you seize your biggest opportunities and/or navigate your challenges. Be specific here.
- Search for mentors through your second-degree network: It’s important to remember that while people are certainly busy, being asked to be a mentor is a massive compliment. People might say no, but it will be a positive exchange and you shouldn’t be shy about thinking big and making the asks, even if you think there is no way the person can find time for you. Let them be the judge of that.
- Make the ask (and keep it simple): Ask someone for a first conversation to learn more about their work and interests. Once you learn more about each other, if there is an alignment, then make the bigger ask for mentorship. Asking someone cold to be a mentor with a long email is too much to take in.
- Make a clear ask at the end: ‘I’ve really enjoyed this conversation. Would it be okay if I followed up with you again in one month after I make some progress towards my goals?’
- Start simply: For your next meeting, keep it simple and follow up based on your last encounter. Once the person confirms they will meet with you again, send an email proposing an agenda and hinting at the idea of a longer-term relationship.
- Create a structured accountability process with a mentorship agreement: After you have a simple conversation or two, try making a more formal ask: Would the person be willing to sit down with you once a month for the next six months until you achieve your goal or solve your problem? If so, then consider creating a simple one-page document outlining what you will accomplish in those six months together.” — Mark Horoszowski
My two cents: I feel like there’s so much fluff and some mysteriousness to mentorship. I somewhat wish that it was more formal, like it’s explained in this article, but the problem is that it means many different things to many different people. At the end of the day, there’s no denying it’s a relationship. It could be formal or it could be informal. I’ve never had a formal mentor, but I’d imagine it’d be something like a coach.
Share (if you're an OG) Twitter Facebook