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How To Properly Cultivate a Mentor Relationship

By January 14, 2013 No Comments

How to Properly Cultivate A Mentor Relationship

In a recent post, we talked about the value of a strong mentor.  So what’s the process of finding one?  Here’s a quick attempt to translate an organic process to a linear one.

How to Find a Mentor That Will Work With You:

1. Think about the people (teachers, colleagues, investors, friends) who have had an influence on you.

2. As you narrow your list, think about the similarities and differences these people have with you.  If they are too close to your perspective, scratch them off the list.  If they have had different leadership roles and life experiences than you, move them higher on the list.

3. Set up a call and ask each of them three key questions:

  • Would you gain value from helping me solve occasional challenges that I’m facing in my work?
  • Would you be available for a conversation once a quarter over a sustained period of time?
  • Would you be able to give me direct feedback without pulling punches?

4. If one of them agrees, suggest a conversation where you bring a challenge to the table.  If that conversation includes perspectives you haven’t considered and it makes you a little uncomfortable, you have probably found a great mentor.  If not, keep trying.

5. Send a thank you note, as a conversation like this is a gift and should be acknowledged as such.

Written by Craig Wortmann. You can find him on and Twitter!

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