Looking for a way to enhance your professional and personal skills in the workplace? Finding a mentor is a great way to do just that! Mentoring programs are becoming a standard in many organizations. According to Chronus Corporation, over 71 % of Fortune 500 companies now offer mentoring or sponsorship programs.
A few benefits to having a mentor are learning:
- valuable business and life skills
- best practices for your industry
- appropriate behaviors and protocols.
Having a mentor gives you the opportunity to discuss your ideas and opinions with an interested listener in a safe and confidential environment. You can also benefit from hearing the lessons that your mentor has learned along the way – both their successes and failures. Having a mentor sets a great training ground to enable you to develop good mentoring behaviors to become a good mentor for others in the future.
Here are a few tips on how to find a mentor:
- Ask yourself what you want in a mentor. Is it an expert who can help with a specific business challenge? Are you looking for someone inside your workplace who has the inside track to be an advocate for you? Mentoring doesn’t have to be a “business” relationship, you can find mentors outside the workplace from organizations you belong to or neighbors and relatives as well.
- Check with your employer’s human resources department to see if they have a mentoring program. Many big corporations offer sponsorship or mentoring programs. You can also tap into industry associations.
- College ties do bind. Find a mentor from your alma mater by utilizing Pioneer Connect and LinkedIn.
- Try to find a mentor who will challenge your thinking and show you there might be a different way to approach a problem, or an additional potential, one you never knew existed.
- Make it fun! When asking for a meeting with a potential mentor, avoid making it seem as though you will only add to their workload.
Mentorship is an exciting opportunity for both of you and often turns into a mutually beneficial relationship.
Author: Kelli Sessions is the Career Services Coordinator in the Taylor Family Undergraduate Career Center in Daniels College of Business.
Editor: Maria Kuntz, Assistant Director, Advancement Marketing at University of Denver