How to find a mentor
“I think you need a mentor”
“A mentor will help you succeed in business”
“I had a mentor and it really helped me”
Have you had someone say this to you? It is great advice… but finding a suitable mentor when you want one isn’t that simple. So how do you find a mentor?
When I was first looking to start my own business (another idea, not NLM) I remember receiving an ebook called “how to start a business – an ultimate guide”. This ebook had multiple sections, each one covering an important topic around starting a business; insurance, registering a business, writing a business plan, websites, making money etc.
Each section had several pages with facts, links, checklists etc. It really was an ultimate guide and I learned a lot from it. All except one section; Advisors.
In the Advisors section, which didn’t even stretch past one page there was a subsection call “mentors” and for that it said “Meeting someone who’s already in business can help you avoid the mistakes they made.”. And that was it! No helpful links to how to find a business mentor, no tips or tricks to help make that connection, nothing around what you are meant to do once you got this mentor. Good advice… but with zero substance behind it. I had seen this many times before.
It was in that moment that the concept of Next Level Mentoring was formed. I wanted to build a business that made it easy as possible for people to find a mentor and benefit from their guidance or to become a mentor and share their own hard-earned guidance with others. I wanted more people to experience the benefits and personal rewards that mentoring brings.
There are many ways to get a mentor and this article is to show the various pathways that could be available to you to find a mentor, in no particular order. Of course, we are a great option, but we are not the only option.
Note: The websites examples provided are for Perth based programs (or Australian wide programs that service Perth. If you are outside Perth, the examples below will still give you the key words on what to search for in Google for your chosen city, state or country).
Check if your own company has a mentoring program.
Most forward-thinking medium to large companies realise that having a mentoring program for its people is a simple and effective way to demonstrate the company cares about their development. This aids in both the attraction and retention of talented individuals and is a win-win for the company and its people.
Your own company may already have a program that you know about and you just need to proactively take advantage of opportunities like this. Do it now, do it today! Don’t let opportunities like this pass you by. Because you are one of the lucky ones that have the benefit available to you.
Your company may have a program but you do not know about it. It may be poorly advertised, or it is only open to certain people, departments or groups. I would recommend asking your manager or HR if there is a mentoring program in your company and who can access it. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that there is a program already running and you can take part in it or you can add to your Personal Development Plan for future development.
But it could be that your company isn’t running a mentoring program or used to run one but stopped it. This is sadly quite common. If this is the case, please tell them you have heard of this awesome company called Next Level Mentoring that helps businesses quickly set-up and run simple, sustainable, effective and engaging mentoring programs and they should get in contact with us. All details at www.nextlevelmentoring.com.au/business-mentoring-program.
Check if your industry body, association or society runs a mentoring program.
Various industry bodies and associations run their own mentoring program for its members. Since members pay an annual subscription, a mentoring program is a sensible benefit that is offered as part of the subscription (or at a discounted rate).
You should check with any organisations that you are part of, or are considering being part of, as they may run a mentoring program or something similar.
In Perth alone, these are some of the organisations that offer a mentoring program to its members. Note: this list is not exhaustive and also doesn’t cover youth mentoring programs.
- There is a joint program between the various engineering industry bodies, ASEG Energy Club WA, Engineers Australia, PESA, PPDM, SPE, SUT, SEA and WISE. https://pesa.com.au/events/2022-industry-mentoring-program/
- Institute of Public Administration Australia WA (IPAAWA) http://www.wa.ipaa.org.au/Individual-Mentoring-Program.aspx
- National Institute Brokers Association (NIBA) https://www.niba.com.au/niba-mentoring-program/
- Australasian Maritime Pilots Institute (AMPI) https://ampi.org.au/mentoring/
- WA Mining Club and School of Mines Alumni (WASMA) https://wasma.com.au/alumni/alumni-mentor-program/
- Law Society WA https://www.lawsocietywa.asn.au/careers-in-law/mentoring-programme/
- Women in Mining and Resources WA https://womeninmining.com/connect-with-peers/mentoring-program/
Some of these programs only run once a year so timing is everything to get on these programs.
These programs are, by their nature, very industry specific so if you were wanting to learn about another industry or broaden you network outside your current industry then these programs won’t be as effective.
Ask someone to be your mentor.
Now this is probably the hardest one of them of all but the one that is commonly given out as advice by people.
There is this preconception that people can just ask a stranger to be their mentor and expect that they will say yes. The reality is that out of 1,000 people that do this, 999 will leave be disappointed. Check out my LinkedIn article around this specific point your idols will not be your mentors.
These would be my steps if I had to ask someone to be my mentor, which I have successfully done several times.
Firstly, you need to work out why you would like a mentor. What areas are you looking for improvement in? What are your perceived gaps in skills and experience that a mentor can help with? Get a piece of paper and start brainstorming.
Once you have an idea about this then investigate your own network to see who a suitable mentor for you could be. Is there someone in your company you admire or a person that you have meet via friends and was impressed with? Do not go to someone you do not know, because the strong chances are you will get rejected. Believe me, I have done that too and the conversation was very…em…. awkward.
The next steps are to ask this suitable person to be your mentor. When asking them I would explain why you are asking for them e.g. “I am asking you to be my mentor because I really admire the work you are doing, and I know I could learn a lot from you to help in my own journey of….”. People love to be flattered and it also helps them understand why you came to them. It will stand you in the best position for them to say yes.
But they may say no, and you should expect that. They may already be mentoring someone else or just don’t have the capacity due to other commitments.
It is this fear of rejection that leads to people never asking in the first place… If this is you, then do not worry as there are still other options for you.
Other options for getting a mentor.
There are now a lot of great initiatives for people to find a mentor without being part of an organisation or needing to hunt themselves. The ones listed below are specific to Perth.
Mentor Walks (In Perth and other cities)
This is a female-only initiative where you can be paired with a successful female leader and spend time with them during a 1-hour morning walk to discuss your specific topic. Other mentees may be part of your group and it runs once every 2 months. It costs $33 AUD per walk.
The mentoring provided by initiatives like Mentor Walks are what I call “surface mentoring”. Since you only get to speak to your assigned mentor for a short duration you only get to scratch the surface of your development. I personally prefer deeper mentoring which is where you have the same mentor for longer, because that is where you will experience the most breakthroughs in your career, business, and life. You can read our article on surface mentoring and deep mentoring to know more about it.
But don’t let that detract for Mentor Walks, it’s a great initiative for female networking and solving common challenges.
This is another female-only initiative and is Australia wide. It utilises an online platform for its members to make it easy to meet others and share ideas. This is another great initiative to help increase the diversity, equity and inclusion today while giving valuable training. Costs are $45 AUD per month.
Out for Australia
Out for Australia is Australia’s largest LGBTQIA+ Mentoring Program. It is open to everyone above the age of 18 and is free (thanks to their sponsors). Mentees are students, recent graduates and young professionals aspiring to pursue a career in a broad range of professional industries. Mentors are LGBTIQ+ people and their allies whom are more established professionals. https://www.outforaustralia.org/mentoring-program
What about Next Level Mentoring?
This is where we come in.
As you can see from the list above there are several options that can be considered. All these options target specific markets and have their own barriers to entry that may make them not a viable option for you
- Your company may not run a mentoring program or its only offered to selected groups of people that you are not part of.
- You may not be part of an industry organisation or association that offers mentoring or you have missed the application deadline and have to wait until the following year.
- You may be looking for a mentor outside your industry i.e. you are changing career, starting your own business or just want different perspectives.
- You may be male so those female-only initiatives are not available to you.
- You may not have a strong enough network to be able to find suitable mentors.
- You may not have the confidence to ask someone to be your mentor.
At Next Level Mentoring we want to make mentoring a lot more accessible to all. We want to make it as easy as possible for you to find a mentor that suits your needs now.
Our mentoring programs focus on developing skills in business, career growth, entrepreneurship and leadership. Our programs are best suited for people aged 25+.
We are currently focusing on building a Perth-based community of people who want to be involved in mentoring through our Perth Mentoring Program. However, we will be opening up to other cities soon and already have mentors around Australia and also in UK and Brazil.
What is the NLM process for finding a business mentor?
Our online registration is initially free and every mentee gets full access to our online training portal such that they are fully equipped with the skills and knowledge to get the most from mentoring. The registration process takes 5 minutes and helps you think about what areas you want guidance from a mentor.
When we receive your registration form, we will find you 4 suitable mentors from our pool of next level mentors. You then rank them in your order of preference. Having 4 mentors allows you to check out each one and compare them. See the differences between mentors also helps you crystallise what you are exactly looking for in a mentor.
Once we have confirmed your preferred mentor is available then all you need to do is pay the one-off matchmaking fee of $179 AUD to lock it in. And that’s it, simple.
It also important note that all mentors that have signed up are doing it through altruism (giving back to others) so they do not expect to get paid any additional money. They get full training from us to help them become great mentors and also are put in the pathway to our mentoring certification scheme.
- Simple yet effective mentoring training ✅
- Ownership of mentor selection process ✅
- Cost-effective ✅
- No hidden cost ✅
- No locked in subscriptions ✅
Hopefully this article has helped you understand the various options open to you to find a mentor and we look forward to hopefully seeing you in our Next Level Mentoring community.
Darren, Director at Next Level Mentoring