Seattle Community

Business coaching services
Portland, Oregon
Greatly helpful
out of 10
3 votes

5 Keys to Engaging a Good Mentor

A good mentor is someone who sees things in you that you just can't see in  yourself. Here are  5 keys to finding and keeping a good mentor.

Written Jan 19, 2008, read 3124 times since then.


A mentor is someone who sees more in you than you see in yourself.

At first I didn't really know what I wanted so I only found other confused people. This gave me an excuse to hide behind my fear. So put your vision in writing in detail. If you were taking a thousand mile car trip you would  likely know where you want to end up. That's your vision or your destination.

How to get there is another story.  You want to  scream out, " I know where I want to go but I don't know how to make it happen."  You are not alone but it can really feel like it. Someone comes along at just that right moment when you need inspiration.

You may have hit a brick wall and can't see your way around it.  You feel stuck and don't know where to go. Ah, and then you spend an hour or even 15 minutes with someone who has been there and has successfully scaled that wall, and then you know it can be done. It gives you new energy because a good mentor will  see the resources in you that you are not seeing in yourself. 

Possible mentors are not likely to throw themselves at you saying,  "take me."  So here are a few helpful hints to help you find and keep a mentor.

Overcome your fear
If you meet the perfect person and your fear gets in the way of you initiating, you need to ask yourself if your fear is more important than your success. Go back to your vision and add a picture of you and your mentor together.

When no money is exchanged
If there is no money exchanged, don't  ask for too much right off. Your person  may have learned to protect her time and  may not know you well enough or be too busy to make a commitment. It is much better to invite her to have a cup of coffee at a cafe near where she works to make it easy for her to say yes.

Always offer to give back
Successful people are likely to be busy.  You want the expertise and wisdom this person has. When someone says, "yes, I am willing to help you," it is a gift to you especially if there is no payment involved. Appreciation goes a long way. Pick up a check at the cafe, send a thank you note or offer to help them with something they need.

Paid mentor
Often a mentor will be a person who you are paying for seminars or one-on-one sessions.  This can be a better deal for you.  Because you are paying,  the person will make time for you as it is part of their business.  You will get quality and focused help  in much more depth.

Begin  asking him about his business or project, because not only are you showing an interest, but in listening to him is where the gems are. His stories and experiences can inspire you and help you see how to get past your wall.

This is one of  the most important tools to build your business.

Learn more about the author, Kaya Singer.

Comment on this article

  • Realtor and Designer 
Austin, Texas 
Kimberly Kohlhaas
    Posted by Kimberly Kohlhaas, Austin, Texas | Jan 22, 2008

    Great article for three reasons:

    1. It is clear and easy to understand
    2. You offer a lot great and practical advice
    3. You end on the powerful note that listening to a mentor's stories will help get me past my wall...and then you emphasize the importance of this by saying it is "one of the most important tools..."