Studies on the power of mentorship are clear: people with professional mentors perform a lot better, advance in their jobs faster, and experience more life-work satisfaction. Not only that, but individuals also get mentoring benefits. After all, teaching is learning twice.

Despite all the advantages mentioned above, and even though 70% of working individuals believe that mentors are very crucial to professional and personal growth, more than 50% don’t have this kind of relationship. The issue is usually that individuals do not know how to find a reputable mentor to establish a relationship with one. Listed below are some steps that can help individuals in this department.

Define specific needs and goals

Get a pen and paper and write down your career goals. Always make sure that they are SMART or Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Then, list down some of the biggest problems in achieving these goals.

The specificity will help people decide what kind of mentor they need to be looking for. Maybe they need to develop new expertise or skills, build confidence to have tough conversations, or expand their network in certain sectors. By understanding where you want the business to be and the most significant gaps and opportunities to get there, people will identify how mentors can genuinely be beneficial to entrepreneurs.

For more info about SMART goals, click here for information.

Write job descriptions of an ideal mentor

Equipped with goals and what they need to help them achieve these goals, people need to think through how these professionals can help. Write down the kind of expert that can help to seize the most prominent opportunities or navigate various challenges. To be precise here, perhaps the company needs someone who can help them accomplish projects, introduce certain people at a level within a particular industry, or coach entrepreneurs through hard negotiations.

In the job description, make sure that it also includes the “why” – just like organizations want possible applicants to understand their company’s purpose, explain why coaching they will tap into something successful and big. They need to make sure that they include this on-the-job description when they reach out to possible mentors to know why they are asking for a coach and are more willing to help.

Search for professional mentors through your networks

Professional coaches can be from unexpected places. They can be from people’s LinkedIn networks, people you have met at specific conferences, or from professional connections. It is very crucial to remember that while individuals are always busy, being asked to be a coach is a big compliment.

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Individuals might say no, but there is a good chance that it will be a good and positive exchange, and they should not be shy about thinking big or asking questions, even if they think there’s no way the individual can find time for them. Let the mentor be the judge of that.

Ask professionals and keep it simple

Asking professionals to be your coach for the first time, the second time, or the third time is pretty awkward. There is a good chance that you have never been asked to coach someone else or taught how to ask questions for yourself. Embrace has been vulnerable and the uncomfortable feeling. No harm can come from asking people but take it slow and straightforward.

Ask professionals first for a conversation to know more about their interests and work. Once you learn more about the individual, if there are alignments, ask them for mentorship. Asking people directly to be a mentor with a long and unnecessary email is too much to digest for a lot of people.

Schedule the first meeting

Entrepreneurs have two goals during their first conversation with the potential coach. First and foremost, they need to determine if the professional is the right coach for them. Ask the question “do I need a mentor” before meeting the professional. Then they need to find out if they are open to the idea of coaching them. How to approach these conversations will depend on the mentee, but in general, they will want to do these things:

Make it pretty easy for the individual – Go to the convenient location for them, have a tea or coffee waiting. Always come prepared and make the meeting comfortable and with no pressure.

Spend more time getting to know the individual – There is a good chance that entrepreneurs want to talk less compared to 30% of the time.

It is okay to ask for some favors off the bat – As a matter of fact, it might even help entrepreneurs build good relationships.

Ask them clearly – Always ask these professionals for their help off the bat. Make it clear and straightforward.  Say thank you and follow up again over the phone or email about the mentorship.