Mentoring is not just about helping yourself, it’s also about being a help to others. Most people want mentors because it’s all about them getting what they want. If you’re having keeping a long term mentor, consider these tips to help cultivate meaningful relationships:
Don’t ask for their blueprint, roadmap or strategies to success
When you inundate a person with “how” questions, it means all you want are answers. No one likes to feel used. Instead, share your issues and the solutions you’ve come up with to get their opinion or advice.
Don’t give the victim story
People think if they make you feel sorry for them, you will feel bad enough to help them. You turn people off, and it works against you. Leave the victim story out.
Mentors are busy, so they might not be able to talk or meet with you as much as you’d like. Don’t get frustrated and upset and quit. You have to be patient. It’s worth the wait.
Give before you get.
Once you identify someone you would like to learn from, figure out a way to serve them first. When you’ve helped someone, you can ask a question, and they’ll be willing and open to helping you. Do it with a genuine heart. Don’t underestimate your value: You have something to give them, and believe me, mentors look for people who can be of service too.
Build a relationship.
Building a relationship does not mean bringing all your personal issues to the conversation; it means you are learning more about the other person and what you can genuinely stand to gain from each other. I still call mentors I had years ago because there was a genuine relationship.
Commit to the process.
When things get tough, don’t give up or quit because it’s harder than you thought. All of my mentors have pushed me out of my comfort zone, and yes, it scared me — but I knew it was for my good and growth.
J. Ryann Peyton, Esq. LLM
Director, Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program