There are certain skills for business that we may not learn or be taught in school. This is why a mentor can make the difference between being average and being great in your field. Here are a few factors to take into consideration when seeking mentorship.
Choose someone who is at a level you’d like to be
Always go for somebody who is better than you and whose achievements you admire. It would be almost impossible for a person to guide you into career success if they themselves have never experienced it. Also keep in mind that it is not always necessary that you both be in the same field. A mentor with experience in Accounting, for instance, can still guide an entrepreneur in the media sphere.
Your mentor does not have to be similar to you
Often, people make the mistake of choosing someone they like or whom they think is like them. However, having similar personalities does not guarantee that a mentor-mentee relationship will work. A person who is different from you has the potential to introduce you to new perspectives and ideals. Although you and the mentor would need to have some level of synergy, always remember that you are not necessarily friends and do not need to be.
Any sex is fine, but same sex is better
Although it is preferred to have a mentor of the same sex as you, it is okay for people of the opposite sex to mentor each other. Woman-to-woman mentorship, for example, is great because it means that talking about more personal issues affecting your work will be easier. Unless a mentor of the opposide sex is the only one with a particular skills set that’s imperative to your mentorship, rather look for someone of the same sex as you..
this is a key aspect of any good mentorship. Besides being honest with yourself as the mentee, you need to be sure that your mentor can be honest with you too. It is advisable to have a mentor who can be frank with you and tell you when you have made a mistake – criticism (when constructive) can work to build your confidence and make you stronger.
Most mentors hold senior positions, are busy and utilise every single second of the day, so don’t waste their time. Quick responses to emails, early notification for appointments and doing more in little time are ways that can make sure you are efficient and not wasting anyone’s time. Also remember that is the small underlying behaviours that can make a difference between your success and failure.
With all that said, your success is your prerogative and you have to drive it. You cannot sit and wait for your mentor to suggest plans of action. Get off your butt and make the best use of the resources at your disposal – your mentor included.