There has been a great deal of discussion on my recent blogs about different leaders’ experiences with mentoring partnerships. Mentors have impacted many of our careers in such important ways and hopefully we are all sharing our stories with team members and colleagues. Although each mentoring relationship is slightly different, everyone seems to agree that both the mentor and the mentee benefit enormously from the connection.
What is so extraordinary about mentoring partnerships? Mentors not only hold us accountable but also are able to see possibilities for our careers that we couldn’t even imagine. Many of our mentors also introduced us to new people and experiences that we couldn’t have done without their connections. Mentors:
- See beyond our imperfections
- Have our best interests in mind
- Offer sage advice
- Challenge us
- Provide us with authentic and honest feedback
Knowing the power of a strong mentoring relationship, leaders may need to find their “magical mentor” in unique ways. Many of our organizations still don’t offer formal mentoring programs and that means it is up to leaders to locate their own mentors. So if our mentors aren’t on our teams where can we find them?
Five Crazy Places To Find A Mentor:
1. DURING OUR COMMUTES
Many leaders spend time commuting back and forth to their places of work. Even if we are consultants, there may be a commute involved to work with a client. I have had commuters chat me up on all sorts of topics including what I do. And at different points in my career, I have commuted along the same route with the same schedules so I actually grew to know co-commuters quite well. That “transportation interlude” is a perfect opportunity to informally find out what industry a person works in and what their job involves. Leaders can put their commuting to good use as their mentor might be sitting right next to them.
2. WORKING IN A VOLUNTEER POSITION
I am a big proponent of volunteering and paying it forward in whatever area we are interested. Volunteering not only help us grow leadership skills but also introduces us to fascinating people. Some ways to find a mentor while volunteering is to ask:
- Why did they choose this particular volunteer assignment?
- What is most important to them about this cause?
- How does this volunteer position relate to their career or job?
- Have they ever been in a mentoring partnership and how did that work for them?
3. SPEAKING WITH SOMEONE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
So many leaders have met their mentors while involved on a social media platform. It is such a natural and comfortable way to connect with someone informally and learn about their background. It is also an ideal place to set up a video chat to ask information which can lead to a mentoring partnership. It’s a process so take your time getting to know one another.
4. WAITING ON LINE
We spend so much of our time waiting on line at stores or restaurants that why not put it to good use? When leaders connect with people while queuing up:
- They practice their “small talk” skills
- They may have the chance to pitch an idea
- They may learn about someone else’s career that may interest them
- They may form a relationship that grows into a mentoring partnership
Related: 5 Super Coaching Tactics For Leaders
5. SHARING YOUR DREAMS AT A REUNION
At this time of year leaders may be invited to family or school reunions that may seem unappealing at first but turn out to be fantastic career moves. When we go to reunions we already have some relationship or connection with the people there. So it is easier to reach out and listen to what others are doing. Maybe they are starting a new business or making a job move. Investigate why and how they are going about doing it. Tell them about your challenges, the good and the not so good. Ask them for advice. What would they do in your situation? This may be the beginning a future mentoring partnership.
What crazy places have you found a mentor? We would love to hear!
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