Five Proven Ways To Get The Most From Mentors
Having a mentor is one of the smartest strategies to professional success. When you can work with some of the best and brightest minds and tap into their insights, you can learn from their experiences, gain valuable wisdom and keep advancing toward your goal.
Many people approach mentorship with the mindset of finding one mentor rather than looking for a network of mentors. Maynard Webb, Yahoo!'s chairman of the board who frequently mentors young entrepreneurs, says the best mentoring relationships come from a team of advisers who can offer insight, direction and introductions. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we highlight Webb's tips for finding your ideal team of mentors.
1. Actively search for the best in your industry. Think about who does your current job-or your dream job—well. Read industry publications and blogs to pinpoint the best people in your field. What's their magic? Identify who they are, what they have accomplished and what you can learn from them.
2. Seek advice from the best people. People enjoy mentoring, helping and coaching. Webb encourages people to ask their mentors what success looks like to them. How did they find success? What does their story look like? When you find someone inspiring, get to know them better.
3. Understand you can be mentored by someone you never meet. Webb asserts that he has learned so much from people he has never met. For example, Webb has followed Stephen Covey's advice countless times without knowing him personally, and he encourages others to look for insights in every experience and interaction.
4. Accept help from your company and solicit external help. Start with your employer, but don't expect help to only come from inside your company. Webb felt so strongly about people's need to access mentors that he co-founded Everwise, a company that uses data and software to match mentors and protégés.
5. Bring value to the network. When you're looking for mentors to help you grow professionally, don't just take. It's important to ask what you can do to help your mentors. You might possess the specific skills and talents they need. Don't hound your mentors, but if you come across a relevant article or post, send it their way. You can also promote their work to your network. Social media makes this easier than ever to do.
Having your own personal board of advisers can have a tremendous impact on your career and your life. Before looking for mentors, Webb encourages professionals to first get themselves in the right frame of mind. For mentoring to work, professionals must decide to remain open to learning. They must also decide what they're going to do with the insights they learn. When you receive a mentor's advice, Webb suggests you listen, process it, consider it and if it doesn't fit in with your value system and within the scope of what you want to do, reject it. They key is having an open mind and staying excited about learning.
Source: Maynard Webb is a 30-year veteran of the technology industry who serves as a board member, investor, philanthropist and mentor to young entrepreneurs. He is the founder of the Webb Investment Network and is also the chairman of the board at Yahoo!.