Whether you are a newbie or a pro in your profession, having a mentor will definitely help you to propel your career trajectory. A mentor is someone who  “shows you the ropes ” and helps you in navigating the corporate maze without getting bruised or disheartened. Oprah Winfrey says, “ A mentor is someone who allows you to see the light inside yourself.” Selecting a mentor is easier said than done, it is a complex decision based on hard facts. These pointers will aid you in selecting a right mentor.

Why do you want to be mentored?

Having clarity on why you need mentoring is the starting point of this journey, the reason for picking up a mentor could range from, learning how to navigate politics in organization to balancing work life. Whilst you may have many developmental needs, rank and pick the most important one. One shoe does not fit all and more so in the case of mentors, the choice of mentors emanates from what you are looking for rather than the mentor fitting into your scheme of things.

Can you trust the mentor?

Having a trustworthy mentor makes you take the full benefit of the mentoring program. There is no way you can benefit from a mentoring program, if you don’t trust your mentor and all your conversations will be guarded and shrouded in secrecy. In addition, trust enables you to be more open to the ideas and suggestions your mentor may give you during your interactions.

Would you be the first guinea pig for the mentor?

Having experience in mentoring is definitely an add-on while selecting a mentor, experience helps them draw on their past sessions and they are able to fine tune their sessions. Mentoring is like sports, if you are not in practice there are heavy chances that you may have become dull and slow. Selecting a mentor, who has successfully mentored people in the past, increases the odds of success. At times, senior managers pick up mentors because their annual performance goals mandate that they mentor a handful, make sure you stay away from them.

Does your mentor have the ability to simplify?

A good mentor will help you in clearing the haze and simplify the complex situation that you are facing. The ability to simplify situations is a hallmark of great mentor; they look at problems as data points and help you quickly unravel the complexity and are able to break a complex task down into parts. A good mentor has the ability of seeing the big picture and looking at the parts at the same time.

Does your mentor have listening skills

God has bestowed us two ears and one mouth, mentors use them in the same ratio, and they speak less and listen more. The most effective mentors spend more time listening to you than in giving you advice. Don’t get caught with a mentor, who keeps on signing his saga and blowing his trumpet only.

Will the mentor keep the conversations confidential?

During your mentoring sessions, there will be disclosures you will make to the mentor. Knowingly or unknowingly, you will be exposing yourself and your weaknesses to your mentor. Your mentor should have the ability to keep your secrets to their inner closet, keep away from selecting a mentor who is in the habit of readily spilling the beans or loves gossiping about others. There is no way you would want your anxieties, fears and inner secrets to be plastered all over the place.

Openness to share their knowledge and wisdom

Good mentors openly share their knowledge and wisdom with others; they are ready to teach others how to do things. They openly share how they achieved success, thereby enabling others to learn from their journey. In mentoring the biggest teacher is the lens of experience and unless your mentor opens the journey book, there is little you will stand to gain from the interactions.

If you were to look at the careers of successful people, you’ll see that most of them went out and sought much help in their career.  If selected well a mentor will be a boon to your career, so why not go and get a good mentor today.

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