Finding a Mentor
A Guide to courting Influencers.
from PickCrew.com Blog 03/15 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
I learn the most from people I’ve never met. I’m constantly reading Business books, listening to podcasts, & attending conferences combing through a tidal wave of information & applying specific lessons to what I’m working on. In theory, I would refer to these individuals I’ve learned from as my mentors, but the relationship doesn’t seem to fit the typical mold.
What is Mentorship? It is a commitment of one knowledge-able individual to help one – with much less experience. The sender is designated the Mentor, and provides innumerable bits of knowledge, while the receiver is the Mentee—the fortunate recipient of this insight. If you’re not confortabel to come out & ask, how does anyone ever get mentored? More importantly, how exactly do you ask for help? I dug through advice from experienced mentors and drew from a recent inter-action I had with a mentor of mine to come up with some do’s & don’ts when looking for and building a relationship with a modern mentor.
How to find the right Mentor. Finding the perfect mentor to pursue can be broken down into three actionable steps:
1. Identify your field. It might seem a bit obvious, but your mentor should be involved in and successful at your chosen line of work. More importantly, they should have a specific interest in your niche.
2. Figure out what you want out of the relationship. Are you looking to perfect a new skill; To get feedback on a project you’re working on? Your desired outcome will help to narrow down the list of potential candidates.
3. Find the right person for the job. It can be tempting to swing for the fences and try to land the Richard Branson’s of the world. While that’s a great eventual goal, you’ll have more luck right off the bat reaching out to rising stars.
In general, identifying rising stars can be tough. Here are some helpful places to look:
· Twitter — Social media is an obvious choice for identifying & connecting with potential mentors. Run searches on topics related to your area of interest. Once you find a handful of individuals, scan their list of accounts they follow for more. If possible, find an already established list of Twitter users pertaining to your niche.
· Guest Posts — You’re likely already reading publications related to your particular industry, but are you looking at who is writing those articles? Many times, you’ll find potential mentors appearing in bylines of other publications while they build their own audience.
· Event Speaker Lists — Industry events are a terrific place to network with potential mentors. More often than not, attendees are there for the sole purpose of meeting others. Instead of focusing on the heavy hitters like SxSW, start off with smaller events that recruit rising stars for presentations. Scan the speaker list ahead of time and identify two or three individuals you want to meet. Even better, try to establish a relationship with them ahead of time and mention that you’re excited to hear them talk.
Figure out how to get Noticed. It’s one thing to identify someone you can learn from. Actually getting their attention is a whole different story. Here are three tactics you can use.
1. Use writing as your Trojan horse. If you’re a writer that can offer a featured quote in an upcoming publication, that’s great. If not, you can still use writing as the vehicle for an introduction. Start a blog and feature other individuals within your field. Ask if you could interview them and offer to feature their recent book or product. Everyone likes a bit of good press.
2. Volunteer at relevant Events. Find an organization or event that could offer you a chance to interact with potential mentors. Many events will even offer you a free ticket for pledging your services for a few hours. Use that time to interact and network with attendees.
Comments: Any other ideas on how to find a Mentor?