Make Your Relationship with Your Mentor Meaningful: Step 4


A good mentor is knowledgeable, generous, a good communicator, and committed to the relationship. You may be lucky enough to have someone such as this already in your life. However, in most cases, you’ll need to recruit one. Here are some tips for finding a career mentor, soliciting their support, and making it a meaningful relationship.


Step 4:  Asking for Their Support.


  • Before you ask for support, prepare a plan. What exactly do you expect of them? If you’re asking this person to commit, they need to know what they are getting  into. It is not reasonable to ask for more than one meeting a month. Define the type of guidance you need. For example, you may want to present yourself on an interview a certain way and want help creating an action plan. Be as specific as you can.


  • Invite the potential mentor to meet to discuss your career. Assure them that you are not asking for a job– you’re just looking for some advice and counsel. At the meeting, define the relationship and your vision. Most importantly, don’t assume the person you are asking will say “yes.” If you sense they are not sure, ask them to think about it overnight. Give them room to say “no.” If they feel pressured to accept, you may not get the level of participation you want.


  • If you are already employed, you should not expect your current boss to become your mentor. It is very unique for your manager to also be your mentor because it is very difficult for this person to be objective on issues  of job performance, office politics, or advancement. Look for senior people within your company who have been along a career path similar to yours. Also look beyond your company to company partners, affiliates, and related companies. Professional associations are a good way to meet top people in your field.





About the Author

Russ Hafferkamp is the Founder and CEO of the Athlete Success Network and Managing Director and Co-Founder of Career Athletes, LLC ( Russ is recognized as a leader and coach in the career development of collegiate and elite athletes and is the author of “CareerBall: The Sport Athletes Play When They’re Through Playing Sports” and "CareerBall: The Athlete Career Guide and Handbook".

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