It’s important to have someone at work to voice your concerns to. Someone who can guide you, answer your questions about career growth, and provide advice from a perspective that is not actively managing you at the same time. Mentors are powerful guides in any career no matter the industry, but finding a mentor might not always be as straight forward as you would like. Here are three things you can do to find a mentor at your current company.
Ask your boss for recommendations
Your manager likely knows more people with mentor-potential than you do, so be sure to tell them that you are in the market. Sometimes a little matchmaking can be just what you need to make a lasting connection. Ask them for suggestions that will help you achieve your career goals, someone who will inspire you, and coach you in a way that makes sense for your level of experience and where you want to go in your career.
Often, you can find powerful mentorship when you make connections outside of your current role or network. Look to meet people outside of your function or even your industry. Mentorship crosses many pre-defined boundaries, so don’t limit yourself to mentors who are in a role you want to be in, or who you can see yourself becoming like in the long term. Learn from people who are not like you. Success takes many shapes over a career, so look outside of your current bubble of influence for mentorship. You never know when the sponsorship of someone can lead to new opportunities and new connections.
Never be too shy to ask
Choosing a good mentor can be a daunting task. This is a person who you will develop a friendship with but also who you will respect and turn to for advice. There is a common misconception that a mentor must be a senior colleague or even in the same line of profession as you. Some of the most successful mentor/mentee relationships are outside of the direct chain of reporting. A great mentor could be an acquaintance or a friend or even your spouse. Pick a mentor who is not in direct competition with you at work. They also will have your best interest at heart, as well as a desire to share their experiences to further your goals.
Even if someone can’t commit to mentoring you on a weekly or monthly basis, even the busiest professionals can commit to 15 minutes to talk and share their experiences and perspective. Just make sure to come prepared with specific questions and a clear understanding of what you want to learn or ask. You’ll be surprised how many people are flattered and happy to act as a mentor when the opportunity presents itself.