Do you know of someone you respect and appreciate and wonder how to ask him or her to be your mentor? If so, then you are not alone.
A lot of people understand and appreciate the importance of having mentors either in making personal decisions or in forging a career path.
Mentors are generally seen as those who help us and guide us through different phases in life.
They are more than just role models who we look at from afar, with reference.
In order for someone to serve as your mentor, you really need to get the person involved in your life and allow them to consciously and deliberately take up this responsibility.
However, it is not enough to just sit and wish that you have someone to mentor you.
You would need to actually take the step to approach such a person and ask them to be your mentor.
But this is no easy task, and hence the reason for you to learn how to ask someone to be your mentor.
As you read on, you will see why you need a mentor, what you should look for when choosing someone to mentor you, and how you can ask someone to be your mentor.
All the lessons you will pick from this article will guide you on taking this very important decision towards a successful career in whatever industry you belong to.
You will also find the needed boldness and of course be equipped with all you would need to ask someone to be your mentor.
Before we proceed, it would be great to understand who a mentor is and what role they can play in your life.
Who Is a Mentor?
A mentor is someone you look up to for guidance, direction, advice, and support in a particular area of life.
Such a person usually has years of experience in that area where they provide mentorship and also the relevant knowledge to make a success of this role.
Mentors can be found in different areas and walk of life.
They can be readily found around you or at other times you might need to search out or source for these ones.
When you get a mentor in life, you have consciously taken a step that will push you much closer to achieving your goals and aspirations in life.
This is because a mentor can help you avoid many pitfalls that can affect you in reaching your goals.
Having gone through this path themselves, they know what works and what doesn’t.
Hence, they are able to guide you in avoiding those challenges altogether, saving you time, energy, and money that would have been expended doing the wrong things or the right things the wrong way.
Additionally, getting someone to be your mentor can also give you the needed focus and direction you need in life.
Many times, we have goals and dreams but we might struggle to find the right motivation to see them through.
Mentors are support systems that not just guide us, but motivate us or give us the needed drive to pursue and reach our goals.
No doubt having a mentor is very important.
Who can be a mentor for you?
In other words, who can you ask to be your mentor?
Actually, there is no particular place where mentors are or where they are readily found.
Your choice of who to ask to be your mentor depends solely on you.
The only part you should be very invested in is picking the right fit.
Having said that, some of the people who can serve as mentors for you are parents, family members, relatives, friends, colleagues at work, employers, former employers, teachers or lecturers, business moguls, renowned entrepreneurs e.t.c.
So, as you can clearly see, you have a wide range of options as far as mentors are concerned, scattered all around you.
The only thing you have to do is make your choice.
It is also worth noting that no rule limits you on the number of mentors you can have.
A lot of persons have taken up two or several mentors even in different fields and industries, and also to fill different roles.
As long as you deem it necessary for your personal and career growth, you can choose as many mentors as you wish.
Only make sure you choose the right ones, which we want to show you how shortly.
Why You Need a Mentor
You might have very high confidence levels as an individual when it comes to pursuing set goals and threading down a career path.
This is very applaudable as this would greatly assist you on your career path.
As such, you might want to discard the idea of getting a mentor or asking someone to be your mentor.
In your defense, you have it all figured out, and you might be willing to learn from your own experience.
Well, as desirable as confidence is, overconfidence is quite harmful.
And this can play out when you refuse to see the need for a mentor.
If anything, the benefits of having a mentor far outweigh any challenge or difficulty that comes from getting one.
And it definitely makes your journey in life easier and faster.
Here are some of the roles mentors play or in other words, the benefits of having a mentor.
These would impress on you the need to have a mentor.
It Helps You Grow Personally and Professionally
Personal and professional growth is very important.
Every decision we make in life, all the actions we take, whether in our personal lives or in our work impacts our personal growth.
Sadly, some people have taken these decisions without expert advice and have suffered dire consequences.
Having a good mentor can help you avoid this.
A mentor will communicate with you regularly, seeking to understand your goals, challenges, and how best to reach them.
They will give you tasks and responsibilities to do, and follow up on these.
Hence, your mentor will be able to offer you needed advice and direction that would benefit you in your personal growth.
Certainly, this help would make your growth not only easy but fast.
Having a Mentor is a Source of Motivation
Challenges and difficulties are a constant feature of everyone’s career journey.
Whether you are a student, an entrepreneur, or a paid employee working for an organization, you would definitely face difficulties sometimes.
During these times, it might be very difficult to go on or see reasons to.
Unfortunately, a lot of people have lost the needed drive and motivation to see their goals to fruition when faced with challenging situations.
Having a mentor can be very beneficial during these times.
A mentor will encourage you and motivate you to get back up and push on.
Whatever negativity you have that might be drawing you back is drowned out by the positivity from your mentor.
And that can motivate you.
Mentors Help You Broaden Your Knowledge Base
Another role that a mentor can play in your life is giving you a wealth of information that would help broaden your knowledge base.
Because they are usually more experienced and have a wider scope of knowledge than you do.
Therefore, having a mentor can actually make you more informed in your own field or in other fields or industries.
And that can would help you step ahead in your career journey of course.
It Helps You Enlarge Your Network
When you have a mentor, most times you are not just going to have a connection with the individual who is mentoring you.
There is a very big opportunity for you to also have access to the professional network of your mentor.
Through them, you can meet other people that would also be of great help to you in your chosen career path.
Hence, having a mentor would help you in building your network.
Mentors Save You The Headache of Learning From Your Own Mistakes
A lot of people especially business owners or entrepreneurs have had to learn a lot from their own mistakes.
While this has helped shaped many top businessmen, an option to avoid this would always be welcomed.
Imagine having someone who has gone down that path you are currently going, has made all the needed mistakes and has the experience already.
That would definitely make your journey easier and stress-free, and a mentor is that person.
With Mentors, You Are Getting a Valuable Asset and Resource for Free
When you have a mentor, you win yourself a very valuable asset and also get access to a lot of great resources at no cost.
This is because mentors do not take up this responsibility hoping to make money out of it.
Rather, they do this because of their selfless and genuine interest in helping others.
This is definitely an invaluable source of help very few would resist.
Choosing The Right Mentor For You – What to Look Out For
Are you now convinced of the importance of having a mentor whether you are a student still going through school, or you are on your professional journey already?
If yes, you can be sure that you are making the right decision.
However, just picking someone to be your mentor would not necessarily automatically guarantee success.
It is very important that you choose the right one.
How then do you identify the right mentor for you?
There are certain factors you need to put into consideration when making this choice, to ensure you are making the right choice.
Here are a few of the most important ones:
Knowledge and Relevant Experience
One of the main reasons why you are asking someone to be your mentor is to learn from the experiences of such ones as it relates to the area where you need their support and guidance.
Hence, it would not be beneficial to pick a mentor who doesn’t have a proven record of experience in the relevant field.
If you were to do that, it might just be that you are being mentored by someone who is more or less the same as you experience-wise.
And you do not expect to get plenty of results from that.
On the contrary, when you choose a mentor who has the relevant experience, they are more exposed to the particular area.
Also, they would have made mistakes in the past that you can learn from, to avoid the same pitfalls.
Another important factor to consider before asking someone to be your mentor is to ensure that your values align with the individual’s own.
Your values are the ideas, concepts, and principles you hold dear.
These are what shape you as an individual and what guides you on the path you take in life.
Values also define what true happiness and satisfaction are to you.
Therefore, it is very important that the values you have and those of the person you want to be your mentor are properly aligned.
Otherwise, you might not find happiness and contentment from the relationship and that would be detrimental and counterproductive.
The Willingness to Help
This is even more important than having the knowledge and experience.
You might know of individuals who are quite successful in their careers and would think of asking them to be your mentor.
However, it is important to consider whether or not they are willing to share their recipe for success with someone else and would want to help.
You can know this by interacting with them first, getting to know them better, and see if they are open to sharing what they know.
Additionally, knowing if they have mentored people in the past or having those they mentor presently will reveal their mindset towards that if they have the willingness to help others.
Honesty and Trustworthiness
A lot of information and “secrets” would be shared back and forth between you and your mentor.
Hence, it is important that before you ask someone to be your mentor, you trust them completely.
They must have shown a certain level of trust so much that you can now share important information with them, and they should also do this in return.
As such, mutual trust is very essential if the relationship between a mentor and mentee would thrive.
Good Communication Skills
A person might have very great head knowledge on a particular topic or even have the relevant experience to back it up.
However, without the right communication skills, they would not be effective as a mentor.
One of the skills your mentor needs to have or develop to be effective is attentive listening.
This and many other communication skills will help your relationship with your mentor to be a fruitful one.
Compatibility and a Bit of Contrast
These two are very important qualities to consider before you ask someone to be your mentor.
Compatibility is good because this is someone you would be interacting with regularly and if you are not compatible, the relationship would hardly work.
However, you should not also be looking for a clone of yourself.
There should be a bit of contrast between you and your mentor, especially in interests, approach, and opinions.
This would help you to have a diverse option of how to approach things, and broaden your knowledge and understanding.
How to Ask Someone to Be Your Mentor
At this stage, you should have identified the individual who you would love to be your mentor.
This might be your lecturer in school, a former or current employer, a colleague at work, a friend, or a family member.
This person ticks the boxes on who to be a great mentor for you.
But then, you are now at the stage that seems difficult; how do you ask someone to be your mentor?
What can you say or do, and what approach can you take to get an audience and good feedback?
Let’s show you some of the trusted approaches that work in asking someone to be your mentor.
1First, Identify What Your Are Seeking in The Mentorship
This is not included in the actual process of “asking” someone to be your mentor.
However, it is a very important first step even before you approach the person for a conversation.
You need to clearly identify and define what you want from your prospective mentor and what you hope to get out of that relationship.
The success or failure of your request large depends on the clarity of this.
2Schedule a Face-to-Face Meeting
Once you’ve identified where the person you want to be your mentor is, and know what you want from them, the next thing is to meet with them.
The official way of reaching out and asking for this meeting is through an email.
However, there is no hard and fast rule about this, and if the person is someone you already know well or even see regularly like an employer, you can communicate how you usually do.
On the other hand, if your prospective mentor is not someone you are hoping to meet for the first time, you will need to send an email of introduction.
Clearly state why you want to meet with them, and ask if they can spare you a few minutes to an hour of their time.
A face-to-face meeting will always afford you the opportunity to have an open and proper discussion with the individual.
If the mentorship you seek is for professional interest, ensure you go with a CV that will allow the person to assess your professional journey thus far, which would guide the conversation.
3Clearly State The Type of Support/Guidance You Need and Expectations
You do not want to leave your prospective mentor confused about how they can help you when asking someone to be your mentor.
As noted earlier, there are different types of mentorship, each providing a particular type of guidance and with their unique mode of application.
If you are not clear on what your goals and expectations are, it would be difficult for the individual to know how they can be of help.
Therefore, even before you have the meeting with the person, ensure you have given proper thought to this.
Then during the meeting, go to specifics on what you would want them to do for you in this role as a mentor.
4Reference How They Have Impacted You; Why You Chose Them
Chances are high that someone you want to ask to be your mentor has impacted you in one way or another in life.
This is especially so when he/she is someone you know very well or quite close to.
If so, endeavor to make reference to specific areas where their actions, decisions, or way of life have positively affected you.
Additionally, even if the person is not someone you are very close to, it might be that you’ve followed their professional journey or read their books and have benefitted from such.
You should make reference to this during your meeting with them.
That would show the individual you know what you are on about and know what you really want.
Show Your Commitment
One of the things that your prospective mentor would be looking out for in order to get the needed impetus to accept this role is your level of commitment.
That means you need to clearly communicate this when you meet with them.
Let them know the amount of work and time you are willing to put in or invest in this relationship.
When you prove beyond all reasonable doubt that you are willing to give your best efforts and be committed, it would motivate the person to take up the mentorship role.
5Leave It Out As an Option For Them to Consider
When asking someone to be your mentor, you need to carefully choose your words.
You do not want to come off as forceful or making them take up this responsibility as though they are obligated to.
This is especially important if you are making this request of someone you know very well or close to.
You want to let them know you will like them to consider the option of mentoring you rather than using words that insinuate you are forcing this on them.
Only when a mentor willingly takes up the responsibility of mentorship can you get the best results from it.
6Acknowledge and Respect Their Time
The person you are meeting with to ask to be your mentor is certainly busy with other activities and responsibilities.
It is good to know this and respect this.
Hence, be as brief as possible and go straight to the point.
Also, let them know you understand their busy schedule and appreciate them making out time from this to meet with you.
If you respect their time this way, they would be more open for future meetings and connections.
7Resist The Urge to Ask for Financial Assistance or Other Selfish Requests
The main goal of mentorship is to provide guidance, support, and advice.
Avoid the temptation to see your mentor as a means of enriching yourself, maybe because you find them to be financially very successful.
This would derail from the main objective of the relationship and can be a real turn-off.
Especially should you refrain from this when you are just getting to meet and know the person?
8Create a Timeline of Goals and Expectations Together
In the meeting with your prospective mentor, one of the things to discuss is how often you plan to meet and have discussions.
Also, there is a need to set a timeline on goals and expectations that the mentor has of you.
You would also want to decide on how to come up with agenda for subsequent meetings for it to be productive.
When you do this, you and your mentor will be on the same page.
Regardless of the result of your meeting to ask someone to be your mentor, show an appreciative spirit.
It would be very good to appreciate the time given you to have a discussion with them and respect whatever decision they decide to take going forward.
Even if the person is not open to mentoring you at that point in time, they might have a change their mind sometime in the future.
Hence, do not ruin any chance you might get in having the individual mentor you by being unappreciative.
How to Ask Someone to be Your Mentor – Final Thoughts
Asking someone to be your mentor might seem like a daunting task.
This is because you are unsure of what the response will be.
However, you know the importance of having a mentor, and as such, it is worth the try.
Therefore, take time to look around you and see who will be the best mentor for you.
Someone who has the relevant skills, knowledge, and experience and is also able to provide you with the needed guidance and support.
Once you’ve done this, reach out to them.
You might just find that they are as willing to mentor you as you are to have them as your mentor.