This program is the first step in understanding how to be a great mentee. Traditional mentoring programs (like this one) open your eyes to why mentors want to support individuals just like you. They are people who believe in you and the potential you bring to our aged care industry.
I currently count six (or more) mentors on speed dial, all with different skills and experiences. I have proven to them that I have a drive to continually push myself out of my comfort zone.
You can build your army of mentors. Now is the time to start thinking about how you can attract the right mentor ...
At the beginning of this program, you would have identified a few goals that you would like to work on. They might have included managing conflicts or disputes, how to budget, write better reports, maybe even how to communicate effectively with management.
Understanding the goal YOU want is VITAL to starting out in any mentoring partnership.
The challenges you are facing require key skills for success.
Who do you know (or know about) who can help? Think BIG.
I know someone who has emailed the CEO of Nike out of the blue to ask them out for a coffee. Others use Twitter, LinkedIn, or networking events to identify the people who can help them on their path to success.
Sometimes asking others for help can be too far out of your comfort zone. If that’s the case and you want to do it alone! Then NO Problem you just need a bit of confidence to do a call or email out of the blue. I do this ALL the time!!
WHO'S YOUR PERFECT DATE?
It’s great to look back on your relationship with teachers, coaches, friends. Most of the time, these relationships will have included a form of mentoring. Look at what you enjoyed about these experiences.
This is probably a great time to reflect on your current experience in the Acorn Mentoring Program. What has worked really well with your mentor, and what hasn’t ...
Write it down and know that you are looking for these characteristics in your mentor - yup it’s like dating!
Reaching out to a potential mentor can be scary. You can meet them in many different places, both informal and formal – environments like your current workplace, through Twitter or at networking events.
Another great way to meet amazing mentors is to reach out and connect on LinkedIn – send them a Private Message and if they reply, invite them out for a coffee.
Usually, you will invite your potential mentor out for a coffee via email. Here’s a handy template.
I’m reaching out as you are someone who has a lot of knowledge in management through your role at [XYZ organisation]. I’ve been following you on LinkedIn, and am really interested to hear about your experiences as I would love to hear some tips on team leadership and would like to talk with you about how I could go about them in my own role.
Kind Regards ...
Reaching out requires you to share with your future mentor why you are getting in contact, what skills you hope they can share. It also requires a bit of courage – but it’s worth it.
THE FIRST MEETING
As you are reaching out to an informal mentor, now is not the time to get them to commit to being your mentor. Your role in this first meeting is to ask them questions, help them get to know you as a person, and help them understand how they can help you with your current challenges.
Refer to the first meeting Mentor-Mentee Agreement on how you can approach conversations about contacting your potential mentor when you will have tasks or questions sent through to them, and anything else you would like to clarify.
GO WITH YOUR GUT
Now you have met them for a coffee you need to reflect on the conversation.
Really look at how your mentor communicated, both verbal and non-verbal. This is a person you are going to be sharing personal and professional challenges with.
If it feels right, try and schedule another meeting BUT don’t feel you need to. Sometimes mentors are just a one-time thing, others last a lifetime.
Go with your gut and make sure they are there to help you achieve your goal.
IT’S UP TO YOU!
Show you can follow up, get back to them. Prove you are ready to take their advice and put it into action. There is nothing worse as a mentor than having a fantastic mentee who never follows up or implements your advice. It makes you are just wasting time and energy.
Repeat after me. I AM WORTH IT
Each and every one of us will have reservations about whether we are ready.
So many mentees are scared to waste their mentors time. After all, they are important and successful individuals with incredibly busy lives. BUT these people want to INVEST in you. They see your potential. They hear you are ready to take your career seriously.
So if they don’t get back to you, send them an email (like every few days) until they get back to you.
Mentoring is a great way to expand your professional network, get your ideas heard, and listen to the advice of others. It’s important to remember that you are the driver of it all. Mentors expect you to take charge, initiate meetings, and follow up.
It can feel intimidating, but the journey to find a mentor is one of the best feelings in the world. And if you follow these steps you’ll be on your way to building your own army of amazing mentors too.
What other ways might you want to reach out to a mentor? Add to the comments below! Help out other #AcornMentees and support your cohort in finding awesome ways to find the mentor you want in your networks!