Article, books and experiments can be great teachers but mentors can help you identify business pitfalls and nothing can ever replace the advice of someone who works your way through the challenges you will encounter on your journey. It is good to learn from your mistakes but it is better to have a guide that will teach you to avoid committing mistakes. Choosing a right mentor can help you grow both personally and professionally. But before placing your trust in someone, it is must to consider following factors-
Have you determined your needs?
The first and foremost step is to assess your needs and requirements. What skill you wish to learn and where do you see yourself down 1 year down the line? Same mentor can not support you for your life. The mentor who is guiding you today may not have the essential skills to help you 5 years from now. Analyze your current development needs and enrich them.
Do they have relevant experience?
Internet is full of self-proclaimed experts. Some of them have immaculate personality with impressive communication skills, which makes it hard to identify the right mentor for you. Check out the track record of success they have achieved in the task they took up. They should have relevant experience to help you overcome the obstacles you encounter. Apart from being knowledgeable, they should have practice experience in the field. Do your mentor has qualities such as honesty, empathy, great communication skills, lateral thinking and lifelong dedication to learning. Weigh mentor’s strengths and weaknesses. Are they ready to complement with your style or clash with it? Your selected mentor should have achieved the goals you aim to achieve. If you can admire that person for his achievement and industry experience then it is thumbs up!
Are they following what they preach?
Differentiate between a true expert and a false prophet by working on this important factor. Are they walking the talk? You should choose a mentor who has already been there where you see yourself down the line. Be cautious of wannabe experts. Make sure you mentor has a rock-solid experience and a man of his words.
Is the mentor a good listener?
Mentor knows all the answers that does not mean he should spoon-feed to you. Instead they should give you a chance to come forward and work on your skills under his kind guidance. A great mentor has strong listening skills and he does not turn away your ideas and vision. You are looking for someone who can tell you when is the right time and he should let you let you scrape your knees sometimes to face failures.
Does he agree to mentor you?
Once you have figured out whom you want your mentor to be, its time to reach out to them without any hesitation. Most of the mentors are on social media and they are easily approachable. Tell them why you have chosen him and what are your expectations?
Before giving a green signal, it is crucial to ask these above questions and get reasonable answers to all of them.