How to Ask Someone to Be Your Mentor

As an entrepreneur, it’s important to find someone who can help you along the way. This article we wanted to share with you comes from Entrepreneur.

How to Ask Someone to Be Your Mentor

A great mentorship opportunity rarely just lands in your lap. More often than not, you need to proactively reach out in order to build the kind of professional relationship that can really benefit you.

So how exactly do you tactfully ask someone to be your mentor? We reached out to five career experts to find out — this was their advice:

1. Identify the right mentor

“A helpful mentor to have is someone who is two or three levels above you but doesn’t work directly with you. It’s more difficult for a mentor to give you neutral, constructive feedback if your work directly impacts them,” says Mary Grace Gardener, strategist at Young Professionista.

To hone in on who you should choose, think about what you need most right at this moment in your career.

“Start by asking yourself how having a mentor will benefit you in your current situation and what you will gain by beginning this type of relationship,” says Eden Waldon, Career Specialist at Ama La Vida.

2. Make your request

Once you’ve pinpointed the perfect mentor, it’s time to reach out to them. This doesn’t always have to be a formal request, though, especially if you don’t know the person well.

“I would recommend starting with something like ‘I really admire your work (or your career trajectory, or whatever it is that you admire) and was wondering if I could ask your advice on my own career?’ If the person says yes, then have that initial sit-down and chat with them.” says Santopietro-Panall

Then, if all goes well, you can introduce the possibility of setting up a recurring meeting.

3. Be gracious

When your mentor responds to your request, make sure to be courteous — even if they say ‘no.’

“This is a much better outcome than someone who commits time to you and then doesn’t follow through. Thank the person, and be very understanding and gracious. You never know — they may come back in the future and offer to mentor you.” says Copeland.

Of course, you should also make sure to express your gratitude if someone does agree to serve as your mentor.

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