When it comes to your career, mentors can be one of the fastest ways to get from where you are to where you want to be. Mentors can help you identify and build up your strengths, recognize your weaknesses, figure out career questions, and generally be an advocate for your ongoing success.
Asking someone to mentor you can feel a bit awkward, however – after all, this is a pretty big favor to ask. So before you pop the question, it helps to first look for indications that someone might be an appropriate mentor for you. A mentor should hold the experience, the position, and the values you’re aiming to develop. They need to be accessible, preferably within your own working context.
Posing the mentoring question:
Schedule an initial conversation: Ask your potential mentor if he or she can make time for a 15-30 minute chat with you. You don’t want to be rushed, and you want plenty of time for the other person to ask you questions about your goals
Clearly describe the guidance you’re seeking: This is where that preliminary brainstorming on your part will help you articulate just what you have in mind.
Confirm your willingness to do the necessary work and follow-through: There’s nothing more frustrating than mentoring someone who doesn’t do the work necessary to take advantage of advice. So you want to make it clear to your potential mentor that you’re ready to commit the time, energy and effort to make the most of their time.
Acknowledge and respect the individual’s time: Most people who are asked to become mentors are highly successful in their careers. Which means they’re also very busy and much in demand. So it’s important for you to acknowledge that reality. And make it clear how much you appreciate their considering your request. This is also the way to provide a graceful “out,” letting the other person cite an overbooked schedule for declining your request.
By: Dammy Eneli