Assignment: Connect with the mentor that you have identified in the PREVIOUS steps and ask them if they are interested.
Asking someone to be your mentor probably feels a lot like asking out your high school crush. But, it doesn’t have to be.
Like dating, mentorship works best when you start slow and develop a relationship first.
So, start the ‘relationship’ by identifying something that you can do for them.
Looking for an opportunity to help out on a project they are working on or facilitating a professional connection are just a few quick ideas for starting the relationship in a meaningful way. Delivering value is a great way to demonstrate to a potential mentor that they will benefit from the engagement.
Now you still have the tough part…asking. Again, like dating, start slow.
Express your interest in flowing a similar career path and ask your potential mentor if you can schedule some time to discuss how they developed throughout their career. It is a great ‘first date’ and an opportunity to validate your choosing them in the first place, gives them the opportunity to see if they want to work with you, and sets a foundation for the relationship.
A few weeks after the conversation – or a few conversations – you can reach out to them again for the formal Will You Be My … Mentor.
This is one of the few times that I recommend emails. Emails are less likely to put the potential mentor on the spot and make them feel pressured to say yes. You don’t want them if they are not all in. With this in mind:
- Make it easy for them to say no
“If this is not a good time for you, would you kindly refer me to a colleague who might be available…”
- Be clear on the time commitment required
“…I am hoping that we could meet once a month for an hour. I will plan a short agenda with specific topics to discuss for each meeting.”
- Make clear your intentions for the relationship.
“…I am looking to enhance my leadership skills and am confident that your experience and insight would be invaluable in this pursuit.”
I’d love to hear about your experiences below about asking someone to be your mentor or being ask yourself.
Comment below on your top tips for asking someone to be your mentor.
Check back tomorrow when we’ll wrap everything up.