Need a mentor? Email
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 09:19 AM

Mentor programHaving a mentor is some of the best industry or general business education you can get. It’s about real-time issues and offers a roll-up-your-sleeves chance to learn what you need to know from someone who is a few steps ahead.

Mentoring offers a win/win to both sides of the deal. The mentee gains a tutor to address specific business issues – and the mentor serves the industry by helping a colleague take a few steps forward to creating a better career or business. Both individuals and the industry benefit.

Like any productive match, there needs to be a good “fit” between the two. Here are key 5 key steps to finding and working effectively with the right mentor.

No. 1 – Choose someone who shares your enthusiasm.

A general business mentor may not have the knowledge about your business to be the best fit. Look for a mentor who is enthusiastic about what you are trying to achieve and who appreciates your vision. A good mentor will deliver tough love without squelching your dreams.

No. 2 – Set a high expectation
Most everyone has people they look up to and aspire to be more like. Know the qualities you admire and approach a person you already know who has them. If you rely on an outside source like ALCC to match you with a mentor, look for those qualities when you first meet with a potential mentor.

No. 3 – Be reasonable about the process
Mentors are not your free employees or business consultants. They will likely be busy with their own business or career and their availability needs to be appreciated, not abused. Don’t expect your mentor to do your work for you – and don’t pester him or her outside your designated times to meet. Begin the process with goals in mind and agree on an end point for your project. The timeframe may be extended, but go into the process knowing when your work together will be accomplished.

No. 4 – Accept the mentor’s input
Being open-minded and teachable is a key to the process. If you really want help, invite no-holds-barred input and then be willing to take constructive criticism. What you hear might be painful – but it could also be the best growing pain you’ve ever had to push your career or business forward.

No. 5 – Don’t do all the talking
Share what you need to in order to present a picture of your business and your needs. Then recognize that your mentor is giving you the gift of his time, knowledge and wisdom. Ask questions, listen well and take notes. If there are assignments you need to do between sessions, do your homework. Walk into meetings prepared with questions that have come up since your last meeting – and most of all, be ready to listen and show appreciation for what you learn

Need a mentor? ALCC Mentoring Program is available to pair mentees with other mentors. Contact [email protected].

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5 questions NOT to ask in an interview
Play the game like baseball
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