Found yourself in the position where you're hesitant to ask someone to mentor you because you feel like it’s an awkward request to make of a stranger? Or maybe you've thought twice about "imposing" on someone because you know they might be incredibly busy?
That's a really common problem. But the first thing you should know about Upnotch is that every mentor has joined our community because they want to help. They love mentoring. Love sharing their experiences. And they want to give their time to help out others.
It's easy - and perfectly normal - to feel a little intimidated by your mentors at first. But remember - they're only human. And they make mistakes and have their own doubts. They are just like you. So there's really no need to be afraid to reach out.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain! When you find someone whose profile you like, whose experience and background could be of great help to you, just go ahead and ask them to mentor you.
It’s not awkward, it’s what Upnotch was built for - to make it easy for people to approach mentors. So just ask. Worst case scenario, they'll tell you that they're already mentoring someone else at the moment and to reach out again in a few months. In the meantime you can reach out to other potential mentors.
Be specific about what you're looking for.
When you send that first message to a potential mentor, try to be as specific and clear as possible. For example, let's say your goal is to build a new team for your company and you’re looking for a one-off type of mentorship.
You can send a simple message saying: “Hey, I’m starting a new business and trying to build a team, I'd love to have a chat with you to find out about your experience on that matter.”
Really simple, concise, direct.
If you're looking for a more long-term mentorship, you could send something like: “Hey, I’m very interested in growing my career to director-level. Would you mind meeting with me for 3 months, once a month for about an hour? I’ll bring the questions!”
Always tell your mentors exactly what you need from them!
Set meeting frequency from the beginning
The notion of time is very important when you reach out to a mentor. If the mentors know exactly what they are getting into they are more likely to say yes. And at the end of that time period, if things are going well and you still want to be learning from each other, you can continue it or renew it for another period of time.
Prepare before every session
Having a mentor is like having a co-pilot on your career journey. Your mentor is there to help and support you. But the responsibility of getting the most out of the mentorship is yours.
Show them that you are prepared, engaged, and willing to put energy into the relationship. Set an agenda and send it out to your mentor before each meeting that way they can be prepared too.
Be open and transparent.
Your mentor is there to help you, and they have your best interests at heart. Always be honest and open to feedback. Try to open up and be vulnerable. Your mentors are not judging you.
If you want something, ask for it. Don’t wait around hoping your mentors will figure out how to help you on their own. Give them the full picture of your challenges, needs, and goals so they can understand how to best help you.
Respect their schedule.
Be punctual to your appointments and try to stay within the time limit you’ve agreed upon. If you need to cancel a meeting because you are busy that day, it’s okay. But make sure you give your mentor as much notice as possible when you tell them you can't make it. And take the lead in getting the call rescheduled.
Don’t be afraid to ask “dumb” questions.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions that you think will make you look foolish. Mentoring provides a safe space where you can ask “dumb” questions even if you’ve been in the game for many years. It doesn’t matter how basic or complex your doubts are, don’t hold back, asking questions shows curiosity and interest.
Upnotch members WANT to connect.
Upnotch was made for people to connect and share knowledge. Everyone is either looking for a mentor or wants to be a mentor - or even both. Everyone, no matter how experienced, can benefit from having a mentor. And remember, mentors are here to help and you deserve their time!