Get a Mentor Before Your Next Career Move
Do you have a mentor? With the start of a new year and an improving economy, it may be a good time to evaluate your current career path and make some decisions about where you are headed. Rather than assuming things are greener in other pastures, it might be helpful to get some advice from someone who has been there, done that. Asking for help from a trusted professional to assist you with developing and accomplishing your objectives requires some planning first.

A mentor can help shape your career.

Mentors can help you develop clear goals and realistic objectives. They can help you develop self- awareness in the assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. They can help navigate interoffice politics or understanding an organization’s culture. They can provide honest feedback, provide you with a fresh perspective on issues and help you grow professionally.

Making assumptions about who would be a good mentor or that someone will automatically agree to serve as your mentor can lead to disappointment. It is important be prepared for a meaningful conversation about what it is you expect. To ensure your needs will be met, there are several points to consider in advance:
  1. What are your goals?
  2. What is it you need to learn?
  3. What are you hoping to gain?
  4. What are your expectations from a mentor?
  5. Can one person provide all you need?
  6. Why are you selecting this person?
  7. What are you willing to commit to?
  8. How will you approach them?
Show respect for your potential mentor’s time by carefully thinking through what it is you want and need as you move forward. Being clear about your mutual expectations from the start will help ensure your relationship produces the results you desire.