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Figuring out how to ask someone to be your mentor is a lot like trying to ask someone out on a date, isn’t it? Your palms get sweaty, you are unsure of yourself, and you’re almost ready to abandon the whole effort without ever saying a word. It doesn’t have to be this nerve wracking. Here are some things to consider when asking someone to be your mentor:
All About Them
Starting the conversation with positives about them is a good way to get a potential mentor to listen to your plight. If you are serious about this person being your mentor, you will have done some research about them already. While you don’t want to rattle off a laundry list of trivia, showing the legwork you’ve put into the selection will go a long way to impressing your would-be guru. Their work experiences and accomplishments are a good starting place, but try to learn a little bit more about them. What are their motivations to do what they do? Where did they veer off track? How did they handle adversity? Having this type of knowledge in your back pocket can come in handy during the discussion.
All About You
Be sure to tell them why you are a good candidate for mentorship. Tell them about what you are doing now and where you see yourself in 5 years and then again in 10 years. Explain how your goals align with theirs, both past and present. This precise approach to presenting yourself as an opportunity rather than a charity case will not only bolster your feeling of self-worth but it will make your would-be mentor stand up and take notice.
Tell Them Why
‘You’re good. I’m good. It’s all good.’ But is it? Not yet. It’s not enough to tell them how great they are and how much you admire them. You have to show them why taking the time to mentor you is a good thing. A good mentor will spend hours of time with someone – hours they could be spending with their family or out golfing. Show them why they should spend that time with you instead. Partnership, tutelage, progression of goals: the works – show them how it benefits them and you at the same time.
Take a deep breath and go for it. You can do it. It just takes a little preparation.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|