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Career Mentors – Necessity or Nuance?

You only have to pour over numerous interviews with entrepreneurs and CEOs to discover that most of them share the same secret weapon to success – a mentor. So where does that leave others who are navigating the business world sans mentor and how on earth do you find one? We’ve put together a few tips on how to find a business mentor who can take you and your business to the next level.

GET IT STRAIGHT: Before seeking out a mentor, make a list of exactly what you are hoping to achieve and what you want a mentor to help you with. Set some goals, expectations and deliverables and be clear on what it is you want a mentor to help you with. The last thing you want to do is waste their time by being unprepared and disorganised.

RESEARCH: Do your research and be prepared to think, and look, outside the square. Your mentor mightn’t be in your particular industry so do some research and approach someone who has reached milestones you’re hoping to achieve. More importantly, look at what obstacles they’ve overcome in order to get where they have. Do they align with your own challenges? Be sure to search for reviews on the person – the good, bad and ugly. After all, you don’t want to get involved with anyone who has a fraudulent past!

FOLLOW THE LEADER: Once you’ve found a shortlist of appropriate potential mentors, sign up to their newsletters, follow them on social media and get a real taste for how they speak to their audience. Ask yourself if this is someone you want to be aligned with. Be strategic and take note of who engages with them on social media as these people could provide potential future networking opportunities for you.

APPROACH: Once you’ve chosen who you want to approach, ask to meet with them to discuss a potential mentoring relationship. Clarify their commitment to the relationship and the time they can dedicate to you on an ongoing basis. Give them an outline of what you are hoping to achieve, and above all, let them know what it was that drew you to them in the first place.

What’s been your experience with mentors and how have they helped you? Leave a comment below.

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