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How to overcome your fear and ask someone to be your professional mentor.

How to overcome your fear and ask someone to be your professional mentor.

A professional mentor can change your career path

I recently had an entry-level employee say to me that they understand the importance of having a mentor, but just couldn’t get over the initial fear of asking someone to be their mentor. Insert face palm. While I’ve been taking the time in these posts over the last several months to discuss what to look for in a mentor, I needed to go back to basics. March is the entryway into Spring, and I want to help you “spring into action” by gaining a mentor.

While asking someone to serve as your mentor may sound easy, it can sometimes feel like a daunting task. Engaging individuals to serve as a mentor can be as terrifying as asking someone out on a date. If you have been considering working with a mentor or trying to work up the courage to ask, here are some quick tips to help.

Consider your goals

Before asking someone to serve as your mentor, be sure to consider what you want to gain from the mentorship.  Knowing your endgame can help ensure you pick the right person that aligns with your goals.

Observe and weigh the options

While there may be plenty of people that may appear on the surface to be a great mentor (i.e. great personality, dresses well, etc.), you want to ensure that you give yourself time to understand and gain insights into the knowledge, skills, and abilities (technical and interpersonal) that the potential mentor has that can help meet the goals you’ve outlined.  Don’t spend too long on this step, but don’t be in a rush either. Ementorconnect.com has a great platform to help in matching you to a mentor.

Approach, ask, and thank

Now that you have found the perfect match, it’s time to approach them and ask them to serve as a mentor for you.  Be sure to not catch the individual in-between meetings or in an elevator. Instead, set up a calendar invitation to officially meet.  During the conversation, mention that you desire to develop professionally and/or personally and would like for them to consider serving in a role of a mentor.  Mention your commitment to the process and what you plan to offer if they agree to be your mentor. Here’s a key:  do not put the person on the spot to give you an answer.  Offer them an opportunity to consider your request and set up a potential date or way to follow-up with a decision.  Following the conversation, send a thank you note or email.

Voila!  You are now equipped to ask someone to be your mentor!  Be sure to share this post with a colleague or friend that need some encouragement to approach their potential mentor/coach.  If you are a mentor, comment below on some of the most creative ways and/or memorable ways someone has asked you to be a mentor.

Yolanda Johnson, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Highly energetic and enthusiastic HR professional. Skilled in aligning business strategy with talent management programs that initiate and sustain corporate culture change. Demonstrated ability to apply a systematic process for analyzing human performance gaps and closing them