A few months ago I had the pleasure of reconnecting with a former employee.  She had progressed well in her career (no surprise) and is now running an organization with a talented staff.

When she worked for me she was fresh out of college – bright, focused, and with a natural ability to work with people.

During our ‘catch-up call’ she said something that surprised me:  that she had considered me to be a mentor during the time we worked together.  I was surprised because we had not set up the mentoring relationship specifically, but she took our discussions as a way for her to learn from my experience.

Mentors are trusted advisors; they’ve walked the path that the mentee is now on, and willingly share what they’ve learned.  For this act of generosity, the mentor receives the satisfaction of passing on her experience, and helping a willing learner.

Is there something you would like to be mentored on?  Can you think of several people you’d want as a mentor?   If so, make a list and contact them with your request.  Let them know that you value their time, are asking for fifteen to twenty minutes every four to six weeks, and you will come prepared with specific questions that you’d like their input on.  If someone says no, don’t be discouraged -  just move onto the next person on the list.  Be persistent.  A strong mentor can be a rewarding relationship – for both parties.

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