Having a mentor is one of the single best ways to get ahead in your career and your life. But how do you find one, and what do you do with them? Our communications coach, Marcia Brandwynne, has some advice.
"Finding a mentor is one of the best things you can do to advance your career. You may think it's only for young people just starting out, but you mid-career professionals can benefit from finding a mentor as well," she says.
So how do you go about finding a mentor?
First, ask yourself a few questions: What do you want? Are you looking for someone to help you with a specific business issue? Or do you want a person who will promote you and your projects?
Look right in front of you first. Maybe it's your boss, maybe it's your boss's boss, or someone whose doing the job you would like to do in the future.
Joining professional organizations can be a wonderful source of finding experienced people in your industry. And there's no reason to limit yourself to just one mentor. You can build your own "Board of Directors!"
Start by asking a potential mentor for advice. Build a relationship. Ask questions and listen carefully. A mentor can give valuable feedback, so you need to listen and never get defensive. Demonstrate that you are teachable and motivated.
Once you've found yourself a mentor, make plans to meet regularly, perhaps once a month. You don't want to overwhelm them. They still have their own job to do!
And don't forget to show gratitude for their time and care in nurturing your career.
Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved.