Many people progress in their companies by seeking their own mentors. By and large, senior managers are apt to be flattered if they are convinced the approach comes from someone who is capable of going a long way. The following ground rules may be useful within the corporate context:
Talk to other people to discover their reputation within the firm. Is this person going places? Is he or she interested in developing other people? Is he or she known for teamwork? Will he or she have time for a mentoring relationship, or has he or she just been given a major project that will keep him or her out of the country for six months a year? Build up as accurate a picture as possible of each mentor candidate to establish who could be of most help to you in your career and/or personal development.
It is not who you know that counts, but who
Establishing the seriousness of your ambition to advance is essential. If the opportunity
Most managers will be flattered and respond positively to an approach in person, either agreeing or making helpful suggestions on who else in the company might be more suitable.
In the latter case they will often make
Try to clarify what kind of transition you want to make. Is it to a different job? A different level of competence? A different situation in life?
Do you want someone to be a sounding-board for you, to give encouragement, to provide you with a constructive challenge and expand your horizons, or to ‘look out' for you, identifying opportunities and
Think about personality, age, experience. Think also about geography - how difficult would it be for the two of you to meet?
Is there any area of knowledge or experience you might usefully offer to share with a mentor?
Is there someone in your workplace, your local community, the
Are you a member of a professional association, an alumni club, a
A variety of organisations - including some TECs, charities and community organisations - provide a matching service for specific categories of people.
Someone in any of the organisations above might be able to help you in this way. Other useful people to consider approaching include personnel professionals, senior managers, academic tutors, pastors and career
It is often easier when someone else makes the introduction. If you have to take the first steps yourself, however,
Aim to put the date for the first formal mentoring meeting into the diary as soon as he or she agrees to consider the relationship. Do not be the one to