How to pop the question: Will you mentor me?
Creativity, productivity and inclusivity are central to a thriving workplace culture and are often fostered in a bond between a mentor and a mentee. With 91% of employees achieving job satisfaction when in a mentoring relationship, the significance of mentoring has never been clearer. But how do you identify your ideal mentor? And once identified, how do you approach the collaboration that may define your working life? With your ideal match staring you in the face or passing you in the corridor, the chance to build a lasting connection may hinge on that all important question. Here is our quick guide to asking someone to be your mentor.
1. Understand that a mentorship is a two-way relationship
A great relationship is never one-sided, mentoring is always a mutually beneficial exercise. Therefore, finding the right mentor is twofold: are they the right person for you, but also, are you the correct fit for them? When assessing how a mentor may help, consider the stage of your career. What are your key objectives? What are your skills? How well do you know yourself? Understanding where you are in your life and precisely what you want to accomplish will help to identify the ideal mentor. Once you’ve understood yourself, take some time to understand your potential mentor. Do they have expertise in your areas of interest? Will their style of communication blend with yours? The best way to ensure the relationship will be mutually beneficial is to know as much as you can in advance.
2. Be clear and direct
Once you’ve identified your ideal mentor, the prospect of ‘popping the question’ and dealing with rejection looms large. Directly asking a stranger to mentor you might be a little overwhelming and pressurise a situation that can always be approached more tactfully. Asking someone to be your mentor isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly and the commitment requires trust and mutual respect. You can demonstrate your respect for your potential mentor by first outlining why they’re the ideal person via an introductory email. Showcase your knowledge of their career and skills and how you might learn from them. Approaching your mentor with clarity over what you’re seeking and where they might fit into this demonstrates respect, humility and certainty that their time won’t be wasted.
3. Get to know each other first
Even if you’ve identified your perfect mentor, natural chemistry cannot be forced. The best way to avoid a doomed mentorship is to get to know each other first. Take the initiative and set up an informal meeting to discuss some of your goals and the challenges you’re facing. As well as stating your own objectives, this initial meeting will give your potential mentor the opportunity to explain their own aims. Mentoring isn’t simply sharing knowledge, it’s two people sharing valuable time. Don’t commit to something long-term until you both understand each other’s expectations and know that it can blossom into something fruitful.
4. Don’t fear rejection
Despite finding your perfect mentor, you must also anticipate the crushing disappointment of a busy schedule, or it simply being the wrong time for them. However, knowing what you want from mentoring should steer you towards a more available candidate. Don’t be afraid to ask your ideal mentor for an alternative recommendation. If you value their opinion, there’s no reason why you can’t enlist their expertise when seeking someone new.
In the digital age, the awkwardness of asking someone to mentor you shouldn’t be an obstacle, which is why a mentoring platform like Grasp provides the perfect environment for breaking down these barriers and allowing great mentorships to flourish. Grasp enables all parties to connect online via mutual interests and shared skillsets and makes recommendations based on the mentee’s learning objectives. Providing a platform that hosts willing mentors reduces the time it takes to find a suitable mentor as well as reducing the chances of rejection, allowing mentees to pop the question with confidence.