I participate in a forum on Mommy Millionaires and one of the women posted the following question about finding a Mentor: Along with a business loan I have applied for I will have a business mentor for free. I have scheduled a meeting with one prospective mentor on Thursday. What should I ask him? How to understand if he is the right person to mentor me for the next 2 years? …
Here was my response:
Assuming your mentor is experienced and a successful business owner, One of the first things I would do is get to know him a bit. Find out his values, his background, who he has worked with in the past, how he plans to work with you, what his expectations of a mentee are, why he is a mentor in the first place, etc. Interview him with probing questions.
See how he reacts. Is he open and approachable? Is he a fast talker or does he go into detail. Do you want someone who is detail minded or one who gets to the point quickly?
Learning his communication style will help you in determining if you can indeed learn from and work with him.
If he has experience, then once you have discovered how well the two of you can communicate (or not) it will be much easier to make a decision.
Do you have the option to interview more than one before disqualifying anyone? You may find that after listening to and interviewing a couple of potential candidates, one will jump out at you and if you must disqualify them beforehand, that would be a shame.
Finding the right mentor in any situation is key to your own success. You will be much more open to the ideas and advice shared if you can communicate well. That does not mean you must agree with everything the mentor suggests. On the contrary! You want someone who will make you feel a little uncomfortable in order to get to your deeper truths and real issues in yrou business (and life).
There are two excellent articles on the subject in WE Magazine for Women. Women’s Ways of Mentoring (First Issue) and Women’s Ways of Mentoring Part Two (Spring 2007). Both articles were written by Catherine Seton, Director of the Australian Women’s Mentoring Network.
I also wrote an article called Your Own Personal Wealth Mentor – Your Keys to Success which you can read at WhereWomenProsper.com.
There are also many great books on Mentoring. Two I recommend are:
The Art of Mentoring: Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way by Shirley Peddy
Mentor Manager/Mentor Parent: How to Develop Responsible People and Build Successful Relationships at Work and at Home by Linda Dowling, Cecile Culp Mielenz.
I’d be interested to know if you have a mentor and if so how did you find her/him and what process did you use to know she/he was the right mentor for you?
Wishing you all the best… and more!
Heidi Richards Mooney
Heidi Richards Mooney
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