Finding the right mentor in the workplace can sometimes be a challenge. Even building up a good relationship after you’ve found the right match comes with its hurdles. But if you can find some common ground with your mentor, you’ll have a better experience and set yourself up for a successful mentorship.
5 things you want to have in common with your mentor
Getting to know someone new can be an awkward experience at the start. However, if you and your mentor already have these things in common, you’ll get off to a great start.
- Engaged - Chances are you’ll only get a short time to spend one-on-one with your mentor, so you’ll want to make the most of it. When you are both engaged in the conversation, it makes the experience more enjoyable. Consider how you’d feel if you were trying to share a professional challenge with your mentor and they spent most of the time looking at their watch or their phone? So, look for a mentor who really wants to give back and to help you succeed.
- Committed - If you and your mentor are both committed to making the experience a successful one, you have a good shot. To find out if they believe in mentorship as much as you, ask them about their mentoring experiences. Have they ever had a mentor? What do they think makes a good mentorship?
- Trustworthy - A mentorship built on trust will be more successful and a better experience for you as a mentee. There will be times that you’ll be confiding things, including challenges in your life, to your mentor. You want to be comfortable doing that and trusting that they won’t betray you in some way. But it is also vital for your mentor to trust you. This trust will be built up over time, but if you both have a reputation for being trustworthy, it will be a great way to start.
- Values/priorities - Finding a mentor with the same values or priorities as you doesn’t mean they will be a mirror image of you. But it does mean that you’ll be able to build a better connection. For example, if you value a work-life balance and spending time with family and friends is important to you, then having a mentor who works 80 hours a week is not the best match. If you are not sure what your values are, write some of the things that are important to you down. It will be important for you to have a list like this when it comes to the mentor matching process. Mentoring software like Together uses algorithms that can be adjusted so you’ll be able to find a good mentor-mentee match. Working with a mentor who also priorities these same things gives you both a great foundation to grow a successful mentorship.
- Hobbies/interests - Getting to know someone is so much easier if you have some common ground. Although your mentor doesn’t need to share all of your interests, having one or two things you both enjoy can be a great conversation starter.
Qualities of a good mentor
While you want to have some things in common with your mentor, you don’t need a clone. You should look for someone with the right characteristics to guide you towards your goals and career development successfully. Here are some of the things that you should look for:
- Expertise - As a mentee, you’re presumably looking to gain some skills or knowledge in some area. So, look for a mentor who already has these skills or expertise.
- Respectful - Search out a mentor who has a reputation for being respectful. Remember, this is someone who may need to give you some hard truth. You’ll want them to be diplomatic about it.
- Positive - Working with a mentor can sometimes be a struggle as you work to achieve some goals. If your partner has an upbeat attitude, it makes for a better experience.
- Honest - Look for a mentor who can give you constructive feedback and is genuine rather than someone who tries not to hurt your feelings. While it might be a bit hard to hear, it will make you a stronger individual in the end.
- Good listener - A mentor needs to be able to listen as well as offer advice. Feeling heard is a crucial component in a successful mentorship.
Find out more about how mentoring software enhances the pairing process so you’ll be able to have more successful mentor-mentee matches.