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How do I identify mentor candidates to help me in my career? Once I identify them how do I engage them?


Topic Expert
Samuel Dergel
Title: Director - Executive Search
Company: Stanton Chase International
LinkedIn Profile
(Director - Executive Search, Stanton Chase International) |

A mentor can be very important in a professional's career. Choosing the right one is even more important.

Some companies have a formal mentorship program. If yours does, you may want to take advantage of the matchmaking service.

Even in companies without a formal program, it could be a good idea to ask HR if they would consider being a matchmaker for you. They may be able to be a good go-between to identify someone appropriate and ask the question.

The ideal mentorship relationship comes from the mentor, when he or she notices someone working near them and develops an interest in them.

However many mentors are successful individuals that have many demands on their time, and while they may like to be a mentor, their workload and responsibilities does not allow for it to happen.

If you need to choose a potential mentor yourself, look for someone that has reached a certain level of success, that you admire, that has good people skills and knows who you are.

A great way to approach a potential mentor is to let them know that you are looking for a mentor, and if they know someone who could be appropriate for you. This allows the potential mentor to say yes without saying no, and perhaps refer you to someone who could be very appropriate for you.

Best of luck. Let me know how it turns out.


Topic Expert
Brenda Morris
Title: Board of Directors, Audit Committee Chai..
Company: Boot Barn
(Board of Directors, Audit Committee Chair, Boot Barn) |

Great advice Samuel!

Anonymous - early in my career I used a couple of mentors with great success. They are people I truly cherish still today. My approach was to just ask them outright, and let them know I asked them because I admired them and their professional attributes and wanted to mirror those in my own style. I made it clear that I would work with their schedule - coffee meetings, lunch meetings, phone calls or dinner. The flexiblity and sincere respect got a YES! One mentor I used for almost 5 years and still stay in touch with. I now mentor at least one or two people each year and make sure I am very creative about it, which is so easy now with email, conference calling and Skype! I recommend finding someone you really admire - and then ask them! Brenda

Topic Expert
Mark Richards
Title: VP Operations and Finance
Company: VP / CFO - Private Company
(VP Operations and Finance, VP / CFO - Private Company) |

The mentor process starts with yourself, in that you need to understand where you want to go in your career. Then you can select the right person, the best thing a mentor can give you are the insights and lessons that only comes from the trial and error of experience.

If their experience is on the path you want to travel than their advice is like pure gold. I found that if I just asked about their experiences that I got most of the answers I sought for myself.

As for how to ask, I think Brenda is spot on, just work within their schedule.

Also, you may need to seek different mentors as you progress.

Hope this helps.



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