No matter how much knowledge you possess about your business or how much work you put into realizing your goals; sometimes you do need to get advice from outsider. This advice can come from any number of avenues, it is usually most advantageous to seek the guidance of a mentor.
A mentor can be any person that have knowledge of your field of business. However, when searching out a mentor, it is best to seek someone who has the greatest understanding of the situation you are facing and who has the most experience with a business similar to your own. To find a mentor and get the most out of your time together, follow the simple steps below.
1. Choose a specific situation to seek advice for.
You may wish to seek as much help as possible from your mentor, but it is easier and will be more beneficial to narrow your quest down to a specific area or situation. Later, after that situation has been resolved, you can still go back to your mentor for additional help.
To choose a situation to pursue, you need to review your positive thinking goals and determine which one is the most important to you or your business. Once you have that goal in mind, you will be able to narrow down your choice of mentors by evaluating their level of expertise in your topic.
For example, if you choose to seek a mentor to help you increase your internet sales, then you will want to choose someone who has achieved great successes in this area. You do not want to choose someone who hasn’t been in business very long, or someone who has vast experience and success in retail sales but not in internet sales.
Choosing a specific situation will also help you later when you go to prepare your list of questions to ask your mentor. So before you go to have that first meeting with your mentor, you need to prioritize a specific problem and a set of specific questions from your list first, you need to give yourself extra time to review the questions and weed out the unnecessary information.
2. Contact your potential mentor.
This step seems obvious, the way in which you contact the person can be a little tricky, it is depending on the level of your familiarity with that person, your first contact could consist of something as simple as a quick phone call or something as formal as a written request for an interview. In order to adhere to professional etiquette requirements, your first contact with someone you are not very familiar with should always start with a written request or phone call to his or her secretary. Never call the personal phone number of a person you are not on a comfortable level with.
Also, the person you choose as your potential mentor may going to have a busy schedule, because of this, the best thing usually to do would be begun by setting up an appointment to state your case, and never try to state your case or explain your position during the first contact.
Once you have made an appointment, you need to pick the type of meeting you will have. It also depends on the circumstances and the time that your mentor has for you, this first meeting can be a short phone call or even a meeting over lunch. If possible, allow your mentor to choose the time and place of the first meeting.
3. Prepare thoroughly for the meeting.
Proper preparation will save both you and your mentor a vast amount of time. With proper preparation you will be able to state your request in a simple, knowledgeable manner. So before you go, make sure that you are prepared to share your specific goals, challenges with your mentor and are able to explain to him or her exactly what it is you expect to gain from them.
4. Ask specific questions.
Once someone has agreed to be your mentor, you need to prepare a list of specific question for him or her. If your questions are too broad they will be hard for your mentor to answer. Plus, general questions usually require multiple answers, which can lead to wasted time on both sides. Specific questions will enable you to prepare better questions and ultimately receive better, more goal-oriented advice.
5. Put your mentor’s advice into action.
It is not enough to simply seek the advice of a mentor. You also have to be willing to listen to his/her ideas, research his/her ideas and eventually put them into action. A great idea is just a great idea until it is turned into a goal. Use what you have learned from your mentor to expand upon your goals and increase your chances of success.
6. Use your mentor for more than just advice.
A mentor can be a great source of inspiration and positive thinking. Listen to his or her stories, get caught up in his or her excitement, use his or her positive thinking to bolster your own. If you find your attitude taking a negative turn, or discover thoughts of defeat sneaking into your mental self-talk, call your mentor for a positive pep talk.
7. Thank your mentor.
No matter how the experience ends, whether you ultimately use his/her advice or not, always send a card or a small gift of appreciation > to your mentor. While this little step may not seem important, it is the biggest and best way to ensure that your professional relationship continues. The fact of the matter is that your mentor probably agreed to help you solely because your success is important to him or her.
Let he/she knows that you appreciate his/her time, effort and keep him/her abreast of your success. In doing so you will leave an avenue open for further mentoring and new opportunities.