4 Tips for Finding the Best Mentor for You
New Book Giveaway!!
20 free copies of The Influence Effect: A New Path to Power for Women Leaders.
Leave a comment on this guest post by Diana Faison to become eligible to win one of TWENTY complimentary copies of The Influence Effect: A New Path to Power for Women Leaders. (Deadline: 11/12/2017)
*International winners will receive electronic versions of Diana’s book.
Study after study shows that feedback is important. Trouble is, the higher up we go—the less feedback we get. Every leader needs to get feedback from those above and around them, otherwise they risk missing opportunities, valuable information, and advancing their careers.
And, it goes without saying that YOU are the one responsible for your own growth and development.
A mentor is a magic bullet for excelling.
4 tips for finding the best mentor for you:
- Seek mentors early in your career. Seeking mentors shows confidence, courage and ambition. Others know you “mean business.”
- Create a network of mentors. Change them as your career changes – opportunities and strengths evolve. We all need mentors! A few are lifelong (like my Dad and my first boss) but most change as your career trajectory changes.
- Use the power of the informal. Don’t ask someone officially to become your mentor. It is akin to asking someone to “go steady.” Know what your needs are and be specific about the skills, information, knowledge or guidance you’re seeking. It doesn’t have to be an official sit down “do you have time for lunch” type of meeting. It can be casual conversations at networking events, company functions or break room interactions.Find ways to forge connections through interests outside of work. The advice from experts is “make it personal.”
- Reciprocate! Offer to help your mentor. What nonprofit activities are they involved in? What workplace events interest them? Find work related projects in which to offer your assistance.
How might leaders find great mentors?
How might leaders be great mentors?
Diana Faison is a partner at Flynn Heath Holt, a leadership firm dedicated to moving women leaders forward faster. She began her career as a teacher of Leadership Development studies and a Dean in Student Affairs at Queens University and the University of North Carolina—Charlotte. Over the span of her career, Faison has coached clients in a wide range of industries, including professional services, global real estate, financial services, software development and healthcare.
Faison is a co-author on FHH’s latest book, The Influence Effect: A New Path to Power for Women Leaders, which offers a new path to power for women with more practical advice like the above.
Would love to read this book & also pass it on to others.So, they might be empowered & grow in their leadership.
Great post! Throughout my career as I have moved up through the ranks, I have found mentors to help me better myself and challenge my own limitations. I try to reciprocate by being a mentor and positive influence to others that are new to their careers. I am an avid reader and would love a copy of Diana’s book!
I would love to be a recipient of Diane’s new book! thank you for considering me.
thank you for this Diana….. in all my years of experience with Mentors in international Corporates, I truly believe that you need to find a mentor who is altruistic in his/her approach. It’s all about servant leadership!
The way women mentor and lead are not talked about enough! Thanks for the chance to access this book.
Great tips! I had more mentors early on in my career, but as I move up, I have fewer mentors but I am becoming a mentor to more. I still need mentors, and I like the idea of a network of mentors. I need to be better about seeking them out.
Great topic Dan. Informal mentoring has worked best for me whether it was up, down, or across. Women in leadership is a passion of mine. Men, our EQ, experiences, and comfort with gender differences are often the roadblocks for women. I am actively involved in a women’s associate resource group at a fortune 100. While I initially joined to support my female colleagues, I have benefited by all I have learned from them and their leadership.
Where you suggest, “Know what your needs are and be specific about the skills, information, knowledge or guidance you’re seeking.“ if seeking help from a mentor, one may not know what they need… That is why we seek out mentoring to figure out the path.
Love these two quotes from the post:
“The higher up we go—the less feedback we get.”
“YOU are the one responsible for your own growth and development.”
Good stuff! Thanks, Dan and Diana!
I would love the book. My doctoral project was on professional feedback delivery. As a leader, it is imperative to develop this skill and art.
I agree with finding the power of the informal – and also believe there is a place for the formal. Mentors can be particularly effective if they know the Mentee has specific goals and hopes to grow through the wisdom that more experienced leaders can offer.
Great advise hat serves well. I have always pursued a team of mentors who I connect with both personally and professionally. The broader the team the deeper the impact.
Great advise hat serves well. I have always pursued a team of mentors who I connect with both personally and professionally. The broader the team the deeper the impact.
Would love a copy!
I would love to have a copy of this book. I’ve been looking for this.
Thanks for reminding me to reciprocate! Would love to read the book!
Seems like it has been long overdue
Mentoring is critical to growth – I concur, the less formal the arrangement, the more both parties are open to sharing ideas and expressing opportunities for growth! Formal arrangements can be awkward, but if your focus is really about seeking feedback in specific areas where “out of my box” thinking is needed – you can see the world bloom right in front of your eyes!
I have been supervising for 17 years. I have been a mentor to others and helped them grow, but have yet took the opportunity to find a mentor for myself. While I am casting the shadow of the leader I want to be, I have found it difficult to find a mentor casting the shadow I want to evolve to. I love developing others and myself, it would be nice to view a different perspective.
The above tips are so useful and ones we should always keep in mind. I do agree that keeping it informal works. In the past, I’ve tried to do it the wrong way as described above and it just doesn’t work. That said, keep trying, right!! This also means we need to keep our eyes and ears open for opportunities! This year, I’ve found a mentoring circle and that has allowed me to tap into the mentor on a more personal basis! In fact, that is how I discovered this blog! Today, when I see one that is special, like this post, I’ll forward it to her and our circle. Sharing and keeping the feedback loop open and real feels good. Thanks!
Mentors are certainly underrated in terms of developing leadership. Many times organizations choose professional learning activities over supporting mentorships, with less than stellar results. And often, leaders are afraid that the optics of choosing mentor and working closely with them will result in people thinking less of them as a leader – that they don’t have all the answers (which they don’t but they don’t want anyone else to know that).
Would love to get a copy of the book.
I have benefited my entire career from multiple mentors, women and men. I believe that we cannot seek growth without strong examples of what we want that growth to look like.
Interested in reading the book and learning more. Great first tip in the post “Seeking mentors shows confidence, courage and ambition. Others know you “mean business.” A request for mentorship does not have to be sign of weakness.
Thought provoking dialogue on Mentorship. All too often being in a Leadership position, we operate under the illusion that we SHOULD have most answers when we HOPE we can give good responses. When working with Mentors at various levels of engagement, make certain the Mentee has the capacity to receive the messages and proposed learnings.
Great article to stimulate the thinking about supporting others as well as garnering support for self.
I️ would love to read this book!
The top picture quote is my favorite thing and something I tell to my mentees – you HAVE to find your own path, your own support and your own mentor. You are your own best advocate! I’d love to read this book and then share with my colleagues!
We all would not be here if our Parents/Mentors/Teachers/Coaches/Clergy didn’t believe in us and help ourselves believe in us, the rest comes with the journey.
Thanks to your blog, at least in part, I am embarking on a much more focused journey to develop my personal leadership skills. Finding not just one but multiple mentors and developing and nurturing those relationships has been integral. Thanks for all of your insights and for encouraging me and others to grow!
Intrigued by the notion of a cadre of mentors…piqued my interest in having a diverse network to draw from…diversity of thought …experience …being curious in selecting those who have different paths than your own. Love the powerful notion of being in charge of your own growth… the architect. Thank you for providing the tips?
Yes to informal mentors! And yes to a path for female leaders. I struggle on this path so much in an environment where the highest leaders are men.
Very practical advice and something I would like to share with others. Developing those relationships and making sure it is a win-win for everyone is key.
You are responsible for your own…LOVE this. It doesn’t have to be just growth, though I acknowledge that is a perfect fit for this post. But imagine the power of filling in that blank with so many different words. Thanks for a great start to the day!
Thank you for the great post. The unspoken culture of business can be intimidating to navigate for anyone. The tip that asking for a formal mentor is like asking someone to “go steady” is a great analogy. So grateful for my many mentors and seeking new ones.
I would be very interested in receiving The Influence Effect. I have found myself recently discovering my strengths and feeling moved to lead. I will take all the resources I can get my hands on!
These are excellent points to share; thank you. While I was in college and just starting my career, I informally selected a mentor. It was because of her I chose my career, and I admired her confidence and leadership. I worked with her, and absorbed as much knowledge and technique as I could. She championed for me and helped me grow into a successful leader myself. Now, I am able to reciprocate by mentoring others as they begin their own career path. Thank you for the article confirming the benefits of seeking a mentor.
Mentoring is so vital to development. These are great tips. Will be putting these into action in our organization.
I meet with a group of women monthly who hold the same position as I, and the amount of support, challenge, and leadership constantly inspires me to grow. I would love to read this book and share it with them!
Our department is currently looking for a new director. They asked our team what we look for, the first thing I said was someone willing to be a mentor to others! Would love to read this book!
As an administrator in PK – 12 education, I strongly believe that empowering women leaders can best be accomplished through mentoring. I have had wonderful male mentors and I have mentored both women and men. When women mentor other women, we are raising the bar for all of us.
Great post. “The higher up we go the less feedback we get” at the time it is so important to continue to receive that feedback. We can never stop learning and developing and mentors are an important piece in this. For young women starting out, I would encourage them to have mentors and advocates and know the difference.
Thanks for the great article! As a young female in the workforce, it can sometimes be difficult to find more experienced coworkers and supervisors who are willing to mentor someone newer in the industry like myself.
I especially like #3–that’s an excellent way to be a mentor and to receive mentoring advice. And I’d love to read the book.
Would love to read this book.
Mentoring is SO important and I love that you noted the informal aspect of it. It can be easy to think you’re not being mentored or being a mentor unless you make it formal. I see mentoring as something that can be done each day in each conversation. This is something that I try to be intentional about and would love to get better at!
I used to be an “I can do it myself person;” maybe I have felt it would be construed as a weakness to reach out. Good news is we can all change and the truth is, the more I reach out and ask for feedback the better I become and start developing work relationships that really matter. It does take ‘courage’ and I’ve found that has been my word this year!
Two great points in one short post!
“it goes without saying that YOU are the one responsible for your own growth and development.”
The power of ownership!
It takes effort to realize that you own your life, your choices (beyond a fate or destiny forced upon you by others). You play a part in your life that helps you get to where you are. You may not be able to control your situation, but you control you in each moment of that situation and your actions from that point on. (I don’t use the word “reaction”, as that seems to have a feel of being automatic or no control)
Owning your growth and development means looking at where you want to go, then going out and getting what you need to get there.
No one will hand it to you.
But, people will help you.
(transition to point 2) Informal mentoring!
I’ve been with companies that have “formal mentoring” programs. We signed up with a mentor for a one-year commitment. It was tracked so the company could “show the value” of mentoring by how many “relationships” were going on. lol.
My best learning from a “mentor” is exactly what is in the post. Approaching others in an informal way. Perhaps offering my help to them to get the relationship going, or just asking for their help/advice/comments/etc. on different topics that I wanted to learn about from them.
I don’t even call it mentoring, I call it talking with people. Involving others. Mentoring shouldn’t be a “job”; that’s consulting.
I found that if I was honest with what I was looking for, and appreciative of what they bring to the table, people help way more often than not. Especially when I would explain why I choose to come to them. People seem to like being valued, and what better way to value someone than to involve them.
I still get to own (choose) my actions, but I find lots of value in accessing the expertise and knowledge of others to help me make what I feel is the best choice for the time.
We all need to seek out mentors at various stages of our lives, while striving to be a mentor to others. I was told last week (by someone much younger) that I was too old and out of touch with what young women need in our current culture. I know this was only one woman’s opinion, but I try to take some measure of growth out of any feedback, whether I agree or not. I will always look to influence the next generation of women (and men) – not as much through my knowledge but through my experience and character. Thank you for the post – appreciate the advice to have a network of mentors.
Great topic! Hope to read more – thanks!
As an HR Professional this would be great for me and the wonderful female leaders that I support.
Great read! I have currently been a part of a 6 month WICT leadership program. The program was led by great mentors within my industry, whom I hope to continue to have and share conversations with in the future. First meetings that organically turn into mentorships are the best! It is so important to have people like that in your network. I graduate from my leadership class next week and can’t wait to see what the future holds as I continue on my career path.
Great insight with practical tips on accessing mentors! This would be a book that I want to pass on to one of my mentors, who is a time-tested, proven leader in her own right!!
Question on point #3: if it isn’t formal, does this mean that the Mentor in question may not actually be aware that they’re a Mentor? Or should it be implied by the types of questions that one asks?
In my experience, Adam, some people who help me don’t know that their helping. Perhaps the idea of informal mentoring is that the mentor doesn’t feel pressure, obligation, or responsibility to the mentee.
YOu ask a great question. I’m just giving a few ideas. What do you think?
Useful and practical tips. Influence, confidence and credibility are essential for sustained success. Diana has nailed the essential criteria in her blog.
Mentors are vital to career growth. I have been blessed with mentors and have tried to be a mentor to women and men in my business. Thank you for the service provided and the inspiring words every day!
I love the advice “don’t ask someone officially to be your mentor” … akin to asking them to go steady. The best mentoring relationship are when the mentee asks for what they need from a place of genuine desire and interest, not by trying to follow some arbitrary rules about how to do it “right.” That way a truly reciprocal and rewarding relationship can emerge.
Great recommendations on the mentor/mentee relationship. In my early years, my mentor relationships have been informal as both a mentee and mentor. I truly enjoy helping others be at their best and achieve their goals at the same time having someone that I can talk to about my struggles to move forward is necessary. No one is an island, so it is important to find the right person to lift you up and challenge you to achieve your goals.
I agree with Gwen’s statement about the good advice… I asked someone to mentor me once and that didn’t go so well. I have had great mentors, who probably didn’t even know they were mentoring me at the time. They were people I observed, networked with, trusted, and respected. Knowing how to ask good questions of your mentor is key to the success of the experience.
My reports and I are currently studying mentorship and the crucial roll it plays in leadership. Thank you for the article and the opportunity to read your book!
This book would be a wonderful addition to my goal of empowering myself and other young women. I was mentored by a wonderful leader who became a great friend. She helped me both personally and professional to become the leader I am today.
I believe I’d benefit from this book and so would others in my organization! Mentoring is so important for growth.
The value of informal mentors cannot be overstated! And being a mentor (formally or informally) has helped me as much, if not more than, it has helped the “mentee.” Love your daily posts, Dan. Always a ray of inspiration —
“Seek mentors early in your career” is great advice – but seeking the right mentor is just as important. We need a “mentor referee” to steer us in the right direction if we begin to follow the wrong mentor – and it happens when a bad mentor influences a new leader and the new leader doesn’t know better. Thanks, Dan.
For most of my career I have been the mentor. It is something I really believe is important, especially to women who are new to management, regardless of their age. It is difficult for me to find mentors for myself though, maybe this book will point me in the right direction.
There is clearly so much to be learnt from being a mentor and having a mentor. It does sound a bit awkward to ask someone directly but sometimes it might be the clearest and most direct way…
Great article!! Can’t wait to read the book!!
Another great post Dan. I had a wake up call several years ago with regard to mentors. I kept looking for them where I worked but I couldn’t find any. So I had sort of stopped looking. Then I had the epiphany, which is probably obvious to everyone here, that a mentor doesn’t just need to be in my place of work or even in my same career. I found some outside that have really catapulted my leadership and attitude at work. So just don’t be stuck in a rut because everyone else is at your work. Never stop looking for feedback or mentors inside or outside your workplace.
Love mentoring! I have had several mentors throughout my career, and their impact has been immeasurable. I’m so grateful for all they’ve done for me, and continue to pay forward their advice and wisdom.
i would love to read this book! Thanks.
I am a 20 year Navy veteran, now retired, and I found that there was no way for me to make it to my next level unless I got a mentor. But I took it a step further, I got 3 mentors! I found that the more I have, the more advice I get. They all have encouraged me to become a mentor, which is very rewarding.
As a relatively new supervisor, I was amazed at how much getting a mentor has helped me. Great article!
After reading this all I can say is, pick me! 🙂
Thank you Diana! However much I’ve wanted them, finding mentors has always been a bit of a weakness for me. I love your analogy about not asking to “go steady.” I’m definitely that straightforward awkward person that would have tried that if I didn’t figure it out soon. These are things that you typically do not learn in school so thanks for the advice! Thanks for the opportunity to win your book, I can’t wait to read it!
This is great information for students and new graduates. I think it is also important to touch on what traits to look for in a mentor and why. I really appreciate the idea of a network of mentors and how the mentoring or coaching needed will evolve as the mentee’s goals and position do. My mentors have played such an important role in my career that I now try to incorporate mentoring into my work and volunteer time. A great mentor relationship is reciprocal, and both parties get so much out of it. Thank you so much for the suggestions above.
I’d like to win a book!!
I totally agree: You are responsible for your own growth.
I have a wonderful mentor that I would not be where I am if it were not for him. Would love to get this book!
Love the idea of using the power of the informal. You never know where your next insight will come from.
I also feel it’s important to be bold. If you think there’s someone who would be an excellent adviser for the current situation you are in, be bold and ask them. It might lead to an insightful conversation or even to a long-term relationship. Just ask!
Can’t wait to read what Diana’s book talks about.
I totally agree with the fact that the higher you go, the less feedback we receive, and we all need feedback. I struggle trying to get feedback and I love the idea of reaching out and building informal mentoring relationships. Thanks.
I look forward to daily emails for inspiration. This is a very good post as I am currently in a mentorship program and would love to win a book.
Hilarious – was in an interview yesterday and talked about acquiring mentors for this particular position if I should get it. Please let me win the book! Thanks for the article.
I wish I would have sought mentors earlier in my career. They really are so valuable to your growth. The book would be wonderful to read. I do hope I win!
I was so fortunate 30 years ago, as a new leader, to have a fantastic mentor for the next 20 years. What an important aspect of leadership!
Mentors are such an important part of leadership development at all levels. Love to read this book 😊
I never turned down a request to lunch and discuss. Some of those led to long term connections, others not so much. There was always mutual benefit.
Thanks for the article, am very interested to dive into this book. I have gotten so much out of previous books you have recommended.
Mentors are so important. I was lucky in my early career to gain mentors organically, but now that I’m mid-career, they have all retired or passed away. So this advice is timely. Thank you!
Thank you for this – As part of MOPS International we have seen mentoring as a powerful too for supporting young moms.
Thank you for this post. Great info here!
Also, I would love to be a recipient of Diane’s new book! Thank you for considering me. 😊
Can’t wait to read the book
I would love to have a copy of the book
Love the idea of also helping your mentors. Good mentors also want to continue to grow and learn.
I agree this is key to career success or fulfillment and I’m interested in learning more and sharing with other women. I currently joined at taskforce at my company focused on women helping women obtain leadership positions.
I’d love a chance to win this book! Thanks
I have found seeking a mentor difficult but so far have been fortunate enough to have mentors that I’ve worked with. I know I need to work on seeking out those who I can learn a lot from and I need to understand what I can offer them. The idea of the informal approach is very appealing so I’ll be trying this. I would love to read your book Diana. And thank you Dan for making me think with each and every post. I do love to learn!
I’d like to read this book and share with the women I mentor. Thanks.
I would love to read this book!
Being a mentor falls nicely into the belief of my servant leadership traits. I would truly enjoy reading this book to help me become a better mentor.
I have thoroughly enjoyed watching magnificent woman leaders emerge in leadership roles. I would like to read this book to share with other women that I have the great opportunity to work with.
I’ve found it helpful to identify mentors that support me in different ways – for example I have one who is my “cheerleader”, she is with me all the way and always cheering me on in whatever challenge I am up against. And I have another who is comfortable giving me “hard truths”, the things that I would probably rather not know about myself, but are critical to my growth as a better leader. I wouldn’t be where I am today without either – but both are critical to my continued path.
I love this topic of ‘Keeping A Mentor and Becoming A Mentor’ for professional success.
Mentors are those who inspire, guide and motivate others who are ambitious and willing to change & climb up the career ladder successfully. Good optimistoc eaders always look for new big things to achieve keeping specific winners in mind. They closely observe them and experiment new & better things with systematic plans. They seek their guidance through consultation and inform on their periodic progress.
At times, they also become mentors for some of their followers. On this role, they have to be careful in addressing people to remain focused and work towards planned goals.
* Mentors are thus a guiding force and help people to get additional confidence and courage to try out new things to meet anticipated challenges. They are also looked up at diiffcult times and become inspirational to inject new enthusiasm and vigor.
With current technology and social media I have found ways to re-connect with former mentors. It has made a huge difference for me in my professional growth. I am also working on establishing new mentors and appreciate all of the available information on this topic.
Thank you for your post, Diana. I’ve shared it with a number of successful women I know, and they really appreciate it. I wonder if Sally Hoggshead’s Fascination Advantage personality profile would complement your guidance. Her personality test is based on branding rather than psychology and results in 42 archetypes, reflecting a primary and secondary fascination advantage, that highlight scenarios to engage for success and to avoid for preventing frustration and failure. http://www.howtofascinate.com/
I am currently in a ladies mentorship group that has made a one year commitment in working on personal leadership skills and self awareness. We are in the 2nd month and have learned so much! We read a new book each month and discuss and this book sounds like a great addition to our growing resources!
Just had a conversation with a colleague today about how she is realizing in her new position as a coach how much she needs feedback and isn’t getting it, even when searching for it. We talked about ways to get feedback when you are now in the role of giving feedback on a daily basis. I would love to read this book and find out more!
There are lot of individuals who wants to have a mentor to change their career into success. The above points will surely gonna help them to find a best mentor that can change their hectic life into success.
Would love to receive an e-Copy. We need to improve on women leadership in the Netherlands, still low representation in Boards of companies and also in Government
How do you reactivate ‘dormant’ mentors? I always find it difficult to reconnect with people that I have lost touch with (generally due to geography, as I’ve lived on several continents) as it often coincides with needing something from them. Is there some way to keep the spark alive without overwhelming their inboxes? …yes, it does sound a lot like dating!
Mentors aren’t just for the young. For a variety of reasons, many senior-level executives have left corporate America and are starting a business, another career or some other second act. These late bloomers need support, advice and encouragement as they transition to a new phase. It’s never too late to reach out and cultivate mentors who can help you on your journey.
Great little read. I always thought getting a mentor had to be something official like luncheons. I would love to read the book and find out more.
I only discovered what being a mentor was all about half way through my career — I so wish I had known earlier! Being a mentor is so rewarding especially when you see others succeed and grow. Great advice – the same mentor isn’t for life!
thank you for your inspiring words Mr Rockwell
thanks for your tips
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