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Mentors and Mentoring: Finding a Mentor

(Part 2 of the Series)

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In Part 1 of this series we looked at what a mentor is and does. If you have decided that a business or personal mentor could be a benefit to you, the link below will start you toward finding the right mentor.

Government Resources

Sometimes a government agency will offer to match entrepreneurs, or others in a Mentor Program which seeks to link those new in business with experienced business owners in a non-competing industry.

In the United States you can contact the SCORE Association (Service Corps of Retired Executives) for a free business counselor. The Department of Defense (DOD) has a Mentor-Protege Program too.

Organizations

Sometimes you can find a mentor through a professional or trade organization to which you belong, or that you can join.
  • The Oak Ridge (Tennessee) Chapter of Professional Secretaries International has a mentoring program designed to help ensure active participation of all members in Chapter activities.
  • An Australian site is Business Mentor Services Tasmania, a mentor program partially funded by the State and Federal Governments. It is offers "the collective experiences of successful business owner/operators who volunteer their time to help you succeed."
  • The Culinary Institute of America also has its own mentor program.
  • Another mentor program to assist women is from the Society of Women Engineers and offers several webinars on the subject, including one on Finding a Mentor: How to Find the Right Mentor for You.
  • Marisol Productions has a great article that describes the types of relationships between mentors and proteges. It also talks about how to find a mentor.

Referals

Far and away the best place to look for a mentor, however, is right in front of you. Look around you at work. Is there an individual who you admire and respect? Someone who has always impressed you with their insight and preceptiveness?

Maybe your boss or your boss's boss. Maybe it's a Vice President in a different division. It could even be the older individual who isn't currently a top executive of your firm, but who you know has lots of experience.

Approach that individual and ask if they would consider being your mentor. Depending on the individual, and your current relationship, your proposal will vary in the amount of detail and how it is delivered. At the very least, let them know what why you selected them and what you hope to learn from the assocation. If appropriate for the specific individual, you can also discuss amounts of time to be commited and what you will contribute.

Don't put it off. What can you lose? Even if they decline to be your mentor, and few will, they will be flattered that you asked.

NEXT WEEK

Do you have what it takes to be a mentor? Check the next article to find out what it takes to be a true guide and friend to another individual.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, or if there is an issue you would like us to address, please post them on our Management Forum to share with the entire group.

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