5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Mentor

We had the pleasure of joining the Puget Sound Business Journal’s Bizwomen Mentoring Monday event. Through a series of Q&A sessions with a selection of female business women who have served as mentors, we gained insight and inspiration on why and how to build successful mentor relationships. 

Then, we added our own thinking to these ideas to give you a robust perspective from a group of women at various ages and stages in our careers. 

Here’s our collective take on five things to consider when choosing a mentor: 

  1. Have an open mind: when it comes to finding a mentor, expand beyond people who have held your position, supervise you and those who work or have worked in your field or industry.
  2. Consider diversity when choosing a mentor: by choosing someone different from you, you’ll gain different ways of thinking, perspectives and approaches  
  3. Allow your mentor to become your champion or advocate: the best mentors will connect you to the people you need to know, guide your professional decisions and help you navigate opportunities and challenges.
  4. Find a mentor that can lead you to larger opportunities: share your goals and big ideas with your mentor and ask them how they can support you in reaching them. Ask for connections, organizations to join and strategies they’ve used to achieve their success. 
  5. Network online to find your mentor:  COVID forced us to do everything online, but before, many men and women found attending in-person events to be time-consuming and a detraction from personal and family obligations. Networking online can be just as effective in finding a mentor. 

Another great tip: mentoring relationships are not one-size-fits-all. They can be a one-time phone call, a month-long engagement or a lasting relationship.

What questions do you have about finding a mentor? Have a mentor? Share how you found your mentor and what works best about your mentor relationship. 

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