“If you cannot see where you are going, ask someone who has been there before.”
- J Loren Norris
Having a great mentor can be a key tool for your success. Not sure what a mentor is? Webster’s dictionary defines a mentor as, “someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person, a trusted counselor or guide.” Think of it as someone who has “been there, done that.”
Mentors can provide career guidance, personal advice, share financial planning tips, and connect you to a whole different network of contacts you do not yet have. Mentoring relationships can be created formally or informally. Regardless of how the relationship is created, finding a truly great mentor requires some careful attention.
As you are trying to identify your mentor(s), consider the 5 Characteristics of a Great Mentor highlighted by Ron Haynes, LinkedIn influencer and Talent Selection Specialist:
1. You want a mentor who has experience doing the very thing you hope to learn.
2. You want a mentor that is sound in their thinking, complete in their experiences, and well rounded in the area you hope to master.
3. You want a mentor you can connect with.
4. You want a mentor who can handle most situations with poise and composure.
5. You want a mentor who instinctively knows when you’ve learned enough for one day.
Once you have identified the perfect mentor for you, do not just sit back and wait, be a good mentee! Be ready to work at the relationship and be willing to learn. When you have time scheduled with your mentor, be prepared and be a good listener.
In the end, choose your mentors wisely … be strategic and thoughtful about who you want to serve as your personal Board of Directors. You are giving these individuals the keys to influencing your journey.