“I’d like to move up the career ladder and think a mentor would help. How do I find a good mentor?” — Magdalene from Shreveport, LA
The fact that you are considering a mentorship shows initiative. By showing your willingness to learn more about what you can do to move up the career ladder, you have already taken a step in the right direction. Ultimately, finding a good mentor to help guide you in your career path will depend on the phase of your career and where you want to be.
As I think about the mentors who have positively influenced my life, past and present, I have identified some core characteristics that might be of help in your decision to find the right mentor for you. Keep in mind that it is fine to have multiple mentors but a good mentor will:
- Have your best interest at heart – A good mentor will want to guide you by helping you identify areas of development, and will provide you with resources and tools that can assist you in meeting your goals.
- Challenge you to grow– A good mentor will be committed to helping you achieve your goals. Often times a mentor will encourage you to venture into something you have never done before. In essence, a good mentor will encourage you to step out of your element.
- Share their experience and knowledge- Good mentors know what it takes to get you where you want to be and are willing to share this information.
- Advocate for you– Once you have expressed and proven your desire to move up the career ladder, your mentor can and will be your biggest advocate.
- Keep you on track– Sometimes you will become discouraged when things don’t move at the pace you feel they should. A good mentor reminds you to stay on track and encourages you to keep taking steps that will further develop your skills.
- Provide constructive feedback– A key to your growth is identifying areas that might need further development. Having a mentor who can provide positive and negative feedback is always helpful.
Also consider that some companies offer a mentoring/ professional coaching program. Therefore it might be appropriate to have this discussion with your supervisor or human resources representative.
If you have not already done so I encourage you to join Goodwill’s GoodProspects online community http://goodprospects.goodwill.org/mentors/ . This is a great way to begin discussion with mentors from various fields of study and experience, establish goals, and develop an action plan for moving forward. Lastly, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone you think would be an ideal mentor. It never hurts to ask.