Searching for a mentor? Tap your network by taking these three steps
There are a few key things you can do to increase the chances of finding a mentor through your network. Here are three steps you can take.
Step 1: Match with peers
First, reach out to peers who have done what you want to do. E.g. If you want to be a mentor yourself someday, look for people who mentor others and ask them about their experiences. Or - if you are a Human Resource professional who wants to develop your recruiting skills, search for "recruiting" and use the filter to show only first-grade contacts from your network with these skills.
In addition, you can also search for content related with your topic of interest, as job titles and roles may vary. Skills stick to a person independently of their current occupation. Seeing what peers in your network talk about, have talked about for a while, and comment on, may help you identify just the right expert, even if he is not currently in the role.
This is particularly relevant for new fields of work and innovative jobs that are yet to be defined by the industries. Often times the first experts in those jobs are career changers who gathered expertise in this field by reading a lot, attending events, and debating around it.
Step 2: Consult with leaders
Next to learning from peers, you can expand your skills by thinking a few years forward. What is the typical career path of people with those skills? How do they develop over time if they are successful in their jobs? What kind of job titles, roles, or responsibilities do they carry?
You can certainly learn about recruiting from HR Business Partners or CHROs, too. Organisational leaders might not be the go-to-experts for specific tools or workflows, but they certainly are up-to-date on trends. They can give you a valuable perspective on your mentoring needs or even connect you to a mentor who has what you need.
If you have such leaders in your network, it is valuable to seek a one-time exchange anyhow. Interests and paths change and collecting perspectives from leaders, hearing what they think about learning and development, and discussing current trends can be just as valuable as mentoring.
Step 3: Activate your networks
If you are a member of any industry associations or other professional networks, invest some time to get to know your fellow members. Who is part of your network? Is there a person who might be a good fit? Do they know about you?
Schedule an online coffee with people who you think might be a good match. Prepare a few questions that can help you get the most out of the conversation, and don't forget to pitch! Being able to clearly and concisely share your needs will help any person, independently of their competence, to tell others. This will speed up the matching process, and you will quickly find yourself in the conversation that you need to learn what you want.
Remember, even if the person you are talking to is not a mentor, he or she might know somebody who would be a great fit for you. Enthusiasm is contagious and people love to help others. If you make it easy for them, they will do it!
Take these three steps to search for a mentor, and you'll be on your way. Great mentorship, regardless of its purpose, is a human relationship. It starts with the people in your network and serendipitously leads to the right match at the right time. Even without a mentoring program, frequent exchange with your community will help you grow, not only your skills but also your opportunities.
To find out more about how Mentessa can foster a culture of connection and create a happier, more motivated and productive workforce: