How to Ask Someone to Be Your Mentor - Mentorloop (2022)

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How to Ask Someone to Be Your Mentor - Mentorloop (1)

When we mused about starting Mentorloop many years ago, it was on the basic premise of making mentoring more accessible to more people.

How do we help people connect with that future version of themselves?

For me personally, I’d been okay at building what I would refer to now as a career network – people I crossed paths with in a professional context which generally took place at work or networking events. I nurtured these relationships and while I didn’t know it at the time, built a network of mentors I could turn to for advice to help me navigate my career.

But when I stepped out of the corporate world and started my first business, I realised I was alone.

It’s not to say those connections were now redundant. They just weren’t representative of the type of advice I needed at that point in time. I needed to talk to other founders, people that had walked the path I was about to – but where to start? It was in a way this personal experience that helped Mentorloop come to life.

Now we are further into the journey, I still proactively seek mentors and am happy to share my experience if I think I have something of value to offer.

You don’t ever outgrow mentoring.

(Video) Mentorloop Mentoring Platform: How it Works

But I think there are some people that master the art of mentoring – that is, identifying, asking and maintaining the relationship, building a personal advisory board you can call on when and as needed.

But what I’ve maybe underestimated in my own personal mentoring journey, is being able to recognise that that feeling of isolation triggered something in me.

From that point on, I never wanted to be left exposed like that again. So I proactively keep my network fresh, relevant and tight. A few select people who I trust, admire and respect and that I can lean on for advice across the spectrum of things I need to be across as a founder – HR, sales, customer success, finance, SaaS metrics, leadership.

When I meet someone that fits into one of these categories and we have a bit of a ‘connection’ I ask them to be my mentor. Now it was only the other day that one of my team members actually asked: “So, how do you make someone your mentor?”

It caught me a bit off guard because I’ve never really thought about it. I just do it. The fact that I don’t hesitate in asking someone suggests there is a level of confidence but I don’t think that is the full picture. Something that is now very natural to me was something that I had to learn how to do.

Over time, I’ve become much better at identifying people who can help me (both short term and long term) and framing the ask to make it hard for them to say no. It’s a learned behaviour, which means anyone can do this.

You just need to have a go.

To get you started, I’ve shared a few tactics below that I use in how to ask someone to be your mentor, who will then say yes!

IdentifyYour‘Why’

(Video) [Webinar] See How to Easily Upgrade Your Organisation's Mentoring Program

Before you can find the right mentor, you need to have a very clear picture of what you are looking to achieve. Whether it is a skill you are looking to learn, something you are looking to challenge yourself in, or somebody that has had to walk a path similar to you, having a clear why helps to paint a picture of the mentor who is best placed to help you and have an impact on your life.

Look to Your Existing Network:

Your mentor might be closer than you think. Approaching someone that has the knowledge you are looking for and already knows you, is obviously going to increase the chances of them saying yes. Start here – if not – see below.

Finding the Mentor You Haven’t Already Met:

This is why you need a why. Doing cold outreach to people youthinkwill be a good mentor will never play well for you. But if you frame the outreach around what you are looking to achieve and why you think this person can help, your chances of them saying yes will slightly increase.

Play It Cool:

No one wants to get married on the first date. The same goes for mentoring. It’s fine to set your sights on someone, but don’t go in all guns blazing. Instead, reach out for just a one-off piece of advice. You could offer to buy them a coffee or even just a ‘15 minute chat’. Everyone has 15 minutes to spare to help someone and if they don’t, they aren’t going to be a viable mentor prospect.

It’s Okay to Ask – Will You Be My Mentor:

It may be after one meeting or it may take a couple but you’ll soon have a good feel if this person is someone you want to continue a relationship with or if it’s time to move on. I always find a direct approach is best at this point. In framing up your ‘ask’ be sure to recount your previous meetings, relay how you’ve enjoyed them, how they’ve specifically helped you and how you’ve applied their advice in your work or life. It could be something like this:

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I wanted to follow up directly, and thank you again for taking the time to meet with me and share your insights. Personally, your honest and frank feedback has been amazing. It’s helped give me the confidence to critically think about the next steps I want to take in my career. Your deep knowledge of the industry has also helped me to think where I can best add value – everything you’ve shared has been really useful stuff.

If you were open, I’d love to continue to stay in touch. To be honest, I really see you as a mentor so would love to keep our conversations going in this capacity if you were open to that? It doesn’t need to be anything formal, maybe a scheduled monthly check-in to keep you updated on my progress and then move to something much more ‘as and when needed.’ Please don’t feel any pressure but I feel it would be a missed opportunity if I didn’t ask!

If it’s a Yes – well you are now on your mentoring journey.

Be sure to be a proactive mentee – you’ve asked for this opportunity so it’s up to you to drive the agenda. If you’re not sure where to start, you might want to check out our first meeting checklist to get you going.

If it’s a no, don’t be discouraged.

Hopefully, the mentor has politely declined with some valid reasons. If not, well they aren’t the right person for you. Take it as a learning experience and think about what you could do differently next time. And in the future, if you’re ever asked to be a mentor, think about when someone said no to you. It’s ok to say no, but don’t leave someone hanging. Give them a reason as to why and if you can, point them in the direction where they might be able to find that mentor that they seek.

For many, the hardest part about finding a mentor is asking.

Mentorloop makes this easy for organisations to build a culture of mentoring. By creating a space for individuals to be open to mentoring relationships from both sides, this can reduce the fear of getting started.

Ready to start your own culture of mentoring? Getintouchwithoneofourmentoringspecialiststoday!

(Video) 5 Ways To Increase Mentoring Program Engagement

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Heidi Holmes

How to Ask Someone to Be Your Mentor - Mentorloop (2)

Heidi is the Co-founder and COO of Mentorloop. She's passionate about all things mentoring, Kenny Rogers and Italian Greyhounds.

(Video) Webinar: How to Keep People Engaged in Your Mentoring Program

FAQs

Can you ask a stranger to be your mentor? ›

Mentorships are a relationship, like a friendship. The same way you wouldn't cold email a stranger to ask them to be your friend, you should never ask a stranger to be your mentor. Mentorships are a relationship, like a friendship. They gradually build over time.

How do you ask someone to be your mentor via email? ›

Emailing someone you already know:

I just wanted to drop you a quick email to ask you for a favour. I'm at a stage in my life and my career in which I feel I could benefit from a little mentoring and guidance. You've already had such a profound influence on my career that you were the first person who came to mind.

How do you write a first email to a mentor? ›

1) Introduce yourself, your year of training, hospital. 2) Basic information about your background: hometown/ educational background/ family. 3) Briefly describe your career aspirations and goals in fellowship. 4) Identify one or two questions/ areas of guidance for your mentor to help you with.

How do you introduce yourself to a mentor? ›

Introduce yourself

Include an overview of your career journey, key achievements, passions and interests, and why you wanted to be a mentor. Try to link as much as possible to areas where their interest also lies, to find common ground and highlight how you can help them learn and grow.

What do I write in a mentor application? ›

If you're applying to be a mentor, your application letter should tell the selection committee your personal story and state why you're an ideal role model for a mentee. Include specific examples of your skills, and don't hesitate to show your eagerness to help others.

How do I approach a mentor meeting? ›

What to do:
  1. Send your mentor your resume and two or three brief paragraphs describing your work and personal history. ...
  2. Give your mentor an idea of what you'd like to focus on. ...
  3. Ask for your mentor's contact information and, if applicable, his or her assistant's contact information.

What qualities should a mentor have? ›

Characteristics of Excellent Mentors
  • Good listener/sounding board.
  • Flexible.
  • Value diversity of perspectives.
  • Knowledgeable.
  • Nonjudgmental.
  • Able to give constructive feedback.
  • Honest and candid.
  • Able to network and find resources.

What makes someone a good mentor? ›

Some important traits in a good mentor include patience and listening skills. The most effective mentors take in what's happening, assess the path the mentee is on and then guide the person onto the right track. Mentoring is as much about counseling as it is transferring knowledge and leadership skills.

How do you reach out to someone professionally? ›

Caption Options
  1. Demonstrate your connection. Professionals are much more likely to help someone they're already connected to, whether it's a shared alma mater or a mutual friend. ...
  2. Arrive prepared. ...
  3. Follow up. ...
  4. Ask for a job. ...
  5. Be too casual. ...
  6. Misspell anything. ...
  7. Be demanding. ...
  8. Only talk about yourself.
Jan 16, 2015

How do you ask someone for professional advice? ›

When you ask someone for advice, be specific about the kind of help you need (job hunting advice, career change advice, etc.), request a specific amount of time (1530 minutes is usually appropriate) and offer to call the person or meet at his or her office at his or her convenience.

How do I ask my boss for guidance? ›

Follow these five steps.
  1. Determine Your Method. First things first, you need to determine how you should approach your manager. ...
  2. Gather Your Facts. Imagine that you strolled into your manager's office and nonchalantly said, “Hey, boss! ...
  3. Explain The Potential Fallout. ...
  4. Resist The Urge to Apologize. ...
  5. Take Notes.
Oct 10, 2017

How do you write a message asking for help? ›

When writing a message asking for help, start with a polite courtesy, then go on to tell them how much you appreciate their help in the past. Explaining your problems further, ask for their help with phrases such as, 'it'd be great if you could help'.

What should I ask a new mentor? ›

Questions to Ask a Mentor
  • What's the best advice you can give to help plan a career rather than simply work to keep a job?
  • How do you encourage innovative ideas?
  • How would you describe your personal style?
  • Do you have a mentor? ...
  • What do you do to constantly challenge your underlying beliefs and assumptions?

How do you write a first email to a mentor? ›

1) Introduce yourself, your year of training, hospital. 2) Basic information about your background: hometown/ educational background/ family. 3) Briefly describe your career aspirations and goals in fellowship. 4) Identify one or two questions/ areas of guidance for your mentor to help you with.

How do I approach a mentor meeting? ›

What to do:
  1. Send your mentor your resume and two or three brief paragraphs describing your work and personal history. ...
  2. Give your mentor an idea of what you'd like to focus on. ...
  3. Ask for your mentor's contact information and, if applicable, his or her assistant's contact information.

How do you ask someone for a career advice? ›

Here are eight ways to ensure your request for help is well received.
  1. Educate yourself on the role or field first. ...
  2. Research your contact before getting in touch. ...
  3. Work around your contact's schedule. ...
  4. Come prepared to the meeting. ...
  5. Ask specific questions. ...
  6. Temper your expectations. ...
  7. Strike while the iron's hot.
Feb 19, 2022

Can your boss be your mentor? ›

Your boss can be one member of your mentoring team, but shouldn't be your only member. People are beginning to understand the enormous benefits of mentoring. It is known to improve productivity, promotion, and salary while also reducing burnout.

What do I write in a mentor application? ›

If you're applying to be a mentor, your application letter should tell the selection committee your personal story and state why you're an ideal role model for a mentee. Include specific examples of your skills, and don't hesitate to show your eagerness to help others.

How do you introduce yourself to a potential mentor? ›

Introduce yourself

Tell your mentee about yourself. Include an overview of your career journey, key achievements, passions and interests, and why you wanted to be a mentor. Try to link as much as possible to areas where their interest also lies, to find common ground and highlight how you can help them learn and grow.

What should I ask in my first mentoring session? ›

Questions to Ask a Mentor
  • What's the best advice you can give to help plan a career rather than simply work to keep a job?
  • How do you encourage innovative ideas?
  • How would you describe your personal style?
  • Do you have a mentor? ...
  • What do you do to constantly challenge your underlying beliefs and assumptions?

What do you say in your first mentor meeting? ›

Regardless of who's taking the lead, though, your first mentor meeting agenda should flow roughly like this: Build rapport: learn about each other, discuss personal and professional history, look for common ground. Discuss mentoring topics: such as skill-related, career story, situational advice, and leadership topics.

What questions should I ask a mentor? ›

Questions to ask a mentor about their personal experience:
  • How and where do you find inspiration?
  • What values are you committed to? ...
  • What is your biggest fear, and have you overcome it? ...
  • Why did you decide to be a mentor, and what are your goals for our relationship?
  • What do you enjoy doing during non-work hours?
Feb 28, 2022

How do you politely ask for guidance? ›

To avoid those consequences, here's some guidance on how to ask for advice without annoying the other person:
  1. Start with a positive tone. ...
  2. Identify the type of advice you're seeking. ...
  3. Come prepared with specific details. ...
  4. Ask the right person. ...
  5. Don't ask everyone. ...
  6. Don't assume you already know the answers. ...
  7. Be grateful.
Jul 9, 2019

How do I ask my boss for guidance? ›

Follow these five steps.
  1. Determine Your Method. First things first, you need to determine how you should approach your manager. ...
  2. Gather Your Facts. Imagine that you strolled into your manager's office and nonchalantly said, “Hey, boss! ...
  3. Explain The Potential Fallout. ...
  4. Resist The Urge to Apologize. ...
  5. Take Notes.
Oct 10, 2017

What is the role of mentor? ›

A mentor may share with a mentee (or protege) information about his or her own career path, as well as provide guidance, motivation, emotional support, and role modeling. A mentor may help with exploring careers, setting goals, developing contacts, and identifying resources.

Why does my boss want me to have a mentor? ›

Your boss may seem like the perfect mentor to guide you through the next phase of your career. As your supervisor, this person knows firsthand your strengths, your abilities, and your goals. What's more, he or she can give you feedback and guidance that's specific to your role and career path.

What's the difference between mentor and supervisor? ›

One of the major differences between supervision and mentoring is that the former is often task-oriented (e.g., completion of a thesis or dissertation) whereas the latter is more about caring for an individual's long-term development (Acker, 2011).

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