5 Tips for Finding the Right Mentor
By Ekaterina Konovalova, Senior Marketing Manager at Ascend Marketing and the EVP of the Mentor Program at the American Marketing Association, DFW Chapter
How can you grow your professional knowledge and contacts in the business community? What’s the most effective way to propel your career to the next level?
Scholars and career coaches agree that a mentor helps accelerate the path to success and brings a wide range of favorable behavioral, motivational, and career outcomes. Thomas Corley, the author of Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals, studied the daily habits of 177 self-made millionaires; he discovered that interacting with mentors on a regular basis is one of the critical habits for financial success.
Here are five tips for a professional in need of a mentor:
1. Take advantage of employee programs at work.
Many people neglect mentorship opportunities that already exist in their companies. If you work for a large or mid-size corporation, chances are your company already has mentorship programs in place. Check with your human relations department to see what types of in-house programs and opportunities already exist.
2. Use available resources at your company.
If your organization doesn’t have a formal mentor program, reach out to senior executives you respect and let them know you are interested in being mentored by them. Even if they are too busy to commit to a formal mentorship relationship, they will most likely be flattered by your initiative and may eventually take you under their wing.
3. Make good use of Linkedin.
Find leaders in your industry on LinkedIn from whom you’d like to learn. Let them know you admire their work and achievements and ask to meet for a brief informal discussion to learn more about their career journeys and key success factors. You will be surprised how many people say yes to this invitation.
4. Use your personal network referrals
Ask friends and family members to connect you with co-workers and upper management. It is always easier to establish a connection with a prospective mentor if you are referred by a trusted source. I’ve recruited a lot of mentors for the American Marketing Association (AMA) mentorship program through friend referrals.
5. Join mentorship programs through professional organizations.
Research professional organizations in your industry and area and join one or more that offers mentorship programs. The Dallas-Fort Worth AMA Mentor/Protégé program is a good example of this. Also, there are great professional organizations for women such as the Network of Executive Women and Ellevate where one can find a mentor. Many colleges offer a wide range of professional mentor programs for their students.
Securing the right mentor is one of the best career moves you can make. Make this a priority and take the initiative. You’ll reap great benefits.