Mentors are an invaluable tool to have when you are starting out in your professional career or would just like some extra guidance in life. Mentors can impart so much knowledge and insight in areas that you typically would not have had otherwise.
It might seem overwhelming when you decide to take on the task of finding a mentor. What should you look for in this person?
Here we will take the time to go over five different ways that can help you choose a good mentor that fits your specific needs.
First off, you want to make sure that the mentor you choose has similar values as you do. This does not mean that you need someone who will agree with you in every aspect of life.
What you should do, though, is write down a list of your top and most important values in life and look for a mentor that aligns with those. This could include areas such as religion, hobbies, and work ethic.
You also want to feel like your mentor values you and values helping you navigate this time in your life. Having a mentor where it does not feel like they value the task they have undertaken is not a mentor you need in your life.
You want to make sure you choose a mentor who does not feel like you have to sacrifice important things. This goes for most relationships in life, too.
One highly important aspect you should have in your relationship with your mentor is a high level of trust. Your mentor will be the person you have to be open with and have a lot of trust in guiding you down the path you want to head.
Trust is one of the most crucial components of any relationship. A mentor is meant to help you navigate new areas that you are entering in life, and this cannot be accomplished if a high amount of trust is not actively present.
If you want guidance that is beneficial from someone, how are you supposed to do this without trust? Of course, trust does not just automatically come with every person you meet, which is why you will need to get to know and feel the sort of relationship you have with your potential mentor.
Do you feel like you can be open to being judged? If yes, then that is a great sign.
The next thing that you should, without a doubt, look for in your future mentor is excellent communication skills. This goes hand-in-hand with trusting them, as well.
Having a mentor means opening up more than you might be used to and possibly having uncomfortable conversations. These conversations are meant to serve your highest good and allow your mentor to accomplish their duty in guiding you in your life and career.
Of course, you want to make sure the mentor you are considering has beneficial communication skills and does not constantly confuse you or actively ignore you. You can also see how someone’s communication skills are by watching how they interact and talk with other people.
If they have positive interactions and show the level of respect that you desire, this is an excellent sign.
An aspect your future mentor should probably have is a certain level of contrast to you. This means that there should be a balance in your outlook, as that is where progress is often made.
Ideally, you should choose a mentor that helps you take steps outside of your comfort zone. One of the best ways to open our eyes is to gain perspective from someone that sees the world in a different light than we do.
As mentioned above, you do not want someone that agrees with every single thing you do or say. A mentor who can constructively tell it like it is and always have your greatest good at the front of their mind is a mentor you should definitely consider.
There is a reason that “opposites attract” is commonly said. But too much contrast can be negative, but it is all about finding the perfect balance in a person and relationship.
Lastly, you will want a mentor that has expertise in their field and the field you are trying to break your way into. This is the main purpose of having a mentor.
Your mentor will ideally have many years of experience under their belt to have the abundance of knowledge needed to guide the person they are mentoring in the right direction.
An excellent mentor does not have to know everything about the area they are mentoring you in, but they should be confident in their advice and leadership. Your mentor does not even have to be in your exact field.
If they are good at what they do, they will be able to guide you on your journey in a positive way. A good mentor should even be open-minded about learning a thing or two from the person they are mentoring, as well. It is important to remember that everyone is a teacher in this life.
This has been a guide of five things to look for in a great mentor. It would be best if you had shared values, a high level of trust, outstanding communication, some contrast, and they should have a great deal of expertise.
Above all else, you will likely feel like you naturally click with the person you eventually choose to mentor you. Creating a new relationship with a mentor is an exciting time in life bound to bring new mind-opening experiences to you.
Finding a mentor that fits your needs might seem like an intimidating task to take on, but if you stay true to yourself and know what you need from your future mentor, everything will fall right into place.