I am a believer in mentorship, but not just for the sake of saying you have one (or more than one). Here are a few quick tips on establishing a relationship with a mentor that will actually grow you...
- Bandwidth - Are you certain the person you are asking to mentor you has the time to really do this and do it well? Equally as importantly, do you have the time to regularly hear their guidance and then put it into action?
- Clear Goals - Establish clear goals for your relationship. This requires you to be self-aware enough to know the areas where you need to grow. Present a clear, one-page growth plan to a potential mentor. This will help them know if they are comfortable and qualified to enable your growth.
- Boldness - You aren't asking for a cheerleader. It is critically important that you find a mentor who is willing to tell you the unvarnished truth about yourself, your business, your leadership, your marriage, your parenting or whatever else you have asked for their input on.
- Are you ready to take that criticism? Are you ready for somebody to tell you that you are doing it wrong? If not, you're going to waste a lot of somebody's well-intended time.
Are you on the other side of this? It's pretty simple to turn this around as a potential mentor to vet your own ability to contribute or a mentee's ability to receive your wisdom.
Finally, take time to regularly evaluate the relationship. Are you both still marching in the same direction? Is the advice you are getting/giving leading to good results?
For me, I have squandered at least two fantastic opportunities to learn a tremendous amount from amazing people in my life. I won't make that mistake again, but I look back and see plenty of errors I could have avoided, had I taken the wisdom these individuals offered more seriously.
Onward. What else?