A career coach or mentor is a person who can guide you with the benefit of their experience. He or she may be someone more senior from within your organization or someone external to your organization who has been successful in the field or skills you want to develop. The right mentor can help you accelerate career, boost your self-development and improve your working relationships. And remember that a mentor is not only helpful in your career the benefits of having a mentor are relevant to all areas of your life – whether fitness, financial or lifestyle.
Decide what area you want help with. Examine your life and determine whether you want help with your career, your health or your relationships. When you know the area or areas you want to focus on you can begin searching for a suitable mentor.
Where’s the hang out? Next, find out where your role models hang out – check out networking events and groups, industry events and conferences – make note of anyone who stands out and has the ‘presence’ you are looking for.
Look into programs. Many organizations now have internal mentoring programs that you can become a part of. If you work for yourself you can investigate Government programs that offer mentoring programs.
Select your mentor. When you identify the person you believe would be a suitable mentor, spend some time watching them in action. Ask around to find out what other people’s opinion of your chosen mentor are and find out all you can about their achievements, beliefs, values and way of operating. This will give you insight into them before you approach them about mentoring you.
Approach your mentor. Phone your prospective mentor and ask to make an appointment to see them. Tell him or her why you want to meet and schedule a time. It is important that your interactions are professional and show respect for your prospective mentors’ time. This demonstrate that you are committed to doing the right thing.
Have an agenda. When you do meet, have an outline of what you would like to discuss. Your agenda should include why you want them to mentor you, for how long and what you hope to gain during that time. If they do agree to mentor you, you can then work out how you can support them too – this should be a two-way process.
Make an agreement. If you both decide to proceed, set up an agreement with guidelines about how your relationship will work and what you both expect from each other.
Contributed by Neen James, a Global Productivity Expert. More about Need James at http://neenjames.com/.
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