If you are ready to grow your career, why not get a mentor involved in your journey? Mentors can offer insights from their own experiences, help you think more strategically and open doors. Some mentors stay with you throughout your career, some are with you at a particular job, and some for one project. Here are the steps you need to ensure a positive mentoring relationship.

What are you looking for from a mentoring relationship?

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else.”

If you invite someone to be your mentor, be clear about what you want from this person. Determine if you would like advice to grow your career, to have a sounding board for challenging issues at work, to develop skills in a certain area — or all of the above.

Often in our “Just do it!” culture, the emphasis is placed on “action”. Reflection and focusing on our inner wants and needs is often neglected. In our rush to run from activity to activity we forget to focus on our true interests and visions. The end result is often that we are confused about what we want, and where we are headed.

So how do you go from constant action to identifying what your challenges are and where you are now? How do you identify what’s going on for you now and how is that different from what you want?

Our mentoring platform provides a host of resources to help you work with your mentor to identify your current situation and help you clarify what you want.

Often, we can be ambiguous when describing what we want, especially when we use loaded words that mean different things to different people. What does it mean that you want to “manage” your team more effectively? If you want to launch a “successful” business, what does success mean to you? Our mentoring platform provides goal setting resources that will help you and your mentor to remove the ambiguity when setting your goals, helping you to set clear, achievable goals to work towards during your mentoring relationship.

What do you want from a mentor?

Know yourself and what you are looking for. The same type of mentor won’t work for everyone. Assessing your own needs and goals first will make it easier to choose the best mentor. Drafting a list of your own needs and goals, as well as the qualities you want in a mentor is a good place to start.

You may want to seek mentors who have a similar background to you in order to relate to your experience. However, it is also wise to seek mentors with different skill sets and perspectives.

Our mentoring platform enables you to choose criteria that is important to you in terms of experience and skill sets and will provide you with a choice of mentors that you can approach to help you in your career development.

There are different mentoring styles, and you may need different styles at different times. It’s possible that a specific type of environment and mentoring style may not work for you. If you find that to be the case, it’s ok to discuss options with your mentor at that point and find a suitable alternative. Begin these types of difficult conversations with honesty and respect and do so early on in the process, when the problem first arises. Then use those negative experiences to shape the qualities to look for in your next mentor. Sometimes, trial and error is important in the process of finding the right mentor. This is why having many types of mentors is important.