Dear Dan: How Do You Find a Mentor

Dear Dan,

I enjoy your articles. One thing I agree with but don’t know how to achieve is a mentor. It just seems like everyone is busy and no one cares for it anymore. Or maybe it is just me.

If I were to approach you for mentorship, what is the most important thing you would want me to focus my delivery on?

Thank you,


Find a mentor: You are responsible for your own growth. Image of young wheat.

Dear Prince,

You ask a great question and bring up a real challenge.

Congratulations for actively pursuing a mentor. The thing that changes us the most is people.

You are responsible for your own growth. It’s obvious you embrace that idea.

Mentoring means many things to people. Check out the comments on An Acronym That Explains Mentoring .

Here are a few ideas on finding a mentor. I begin with the thing that’s most important to me.

One 15-minute conversation - with a specific objective - is more appealing than, "Would you be my mentor?" Image of little boy fishing in a coffee cup.

How to find a mentor:

#1. Make a small ask.

One 15-minute conversation with a specific objective is more appealing than, “Would you be my mentor.”

People are reluctant to make undefined commitments.

Notice #3 on this post: 4 Tips for Finding the Best Mentor for You.

#2. Introduce yourself to a prospective mentor.

When you approach someone who doesn’t know you, introduce yourself.

  1. Be brief. A paragraph or two.
  2. Explain what you currently do.
  3. Share your aspirations for the future. Go beyond aspirations for yourself. How do you hope to contribute to others?

#3. Be a learner.

Always be learning.

Find a mentor in your current circle of relationships.

Let them know you are learning from them. Tell them what you observed about them and what you did differently based on your observation. Ask for their feedback and suggestions.

#4. Add value to a prospective mentor.

Work to add value to everyone. When you have opportunity, add value to prospective mentors.

I’ve been approached by people who regularly leave comments on Leadership Freak and/or frequently share my work on their social media channels. Many do this for years. When they ask for something, I’m eager to contribute.

The thing that changes us the most is interacting with people. Image of a head full of people.

#5. Have a goal in mind.

How relevant are your goals to a prospective mentor’s focus and expertise? Declare your goal and ask a couple open ended questions.

#6. Learn about the prospective mentor.

Show respect by learning about people before you approach them. Let them know what motivated you to reach out.

Explain what motivated you to seek them out.

#7. Be a person who attracts mentors.

25% of people are approached by the mentor. 61% develop naturally. 14% are approached by the mentee.

Bonus: Don’t give up.

Persistence matters. Be polite. Follow up a few times.

You have my best,


What suggestions do you have for someone trying to find a mentor?

What should be avoided when trying to find a mentor?

Still curious:

How To Find a Mentor: 3 Steps to Forming the Relationship : NPR

What is a Mentor and How do You Find One? –