How to Find the Right Mentor
Having a mentor where you work gives you a friend, teacher and a guide who can offer his/her own life experiences.
Chances are that whatever you’re going through in your career, the mentor has already been there. The mentor also gives you someone besides your boss or immediate co-workers to bounce ideas off of and help look out for you.
Investing in the next generation is a big part of the Freese and Nichols culture. We have about 275 people involved in the program and pffer the Lee Freese Excellence in Mentoring Award, which honors mentors who go above and beyond.
Being mentored also lets you tap into the knowledge of those leading their fields. But finding the right person whom you can relate to you can be hard at first, especially at a new company.
Here are some steps on being strategic in your search for a mentor.
- Do your homework first. It’s hard to guide someone who doesn’t know where they want to go. Take some time to consider your career goals. For example, if you’d eventually like to work in sales, look for someone who is an account director or practice leader. Or if you’d like to become more well-rounded, look for a mentor outside of your own discipline. If you want to eventually become a manager, look for someone in a corporate group, (such as marketing, accounting or IT) to get a feel more of what it’s like to manage people and get a look from the business side.
- Look outside your group for a different perspective. If you try to pair up with an immediate co-worker, manager or division manager, it can create conflict within your group. Your manager or people from your immediate group should hopefully already be coaching and developing you.
- Set regular meetings. Be consistent. For example, plan for lunches on the first Thursday of every month. You and your mentor both know to expect it and can plan around it. A few meetings might slip by, but at least 10 meetings a year is a good start for a mentorship foundation.
- Remember, getting a mentor is not a lifetime commitment. Find a mentor who you can connect with for a year. At then end of the year, re-evaluate your goals and your match.