How to seek advice?
Seeking advice is not easy and requires pondering on various questions like how to seek advice? How to approach a mentor? And how to ask for mentorship?
The word ‘mentor’ comes with a lot of assumptions. The common picture that anybody has in their mind regarding mentorship is nothing short of a wise old sage with a long white beard passing on his prudence to young eager enthusiasts.
The reality is not even close to that. The concept of mentoring is evolving and the myths surrounding it need to be busted.
How you seek advice plays an important role in the growth of your career and taking it to new levels.
So I have listed out some common misconceptions regarding mentorship. This will allow you to have a well-defined view of mentoring and you will be able to reap more out of this.
Myth: There is one perfect mentor for you
Fact: Today, every profession is multi-faceted and the intermingling of specialties is on the rise. There is no way to have one perfect person to advise you throughout your career. You will be better off with several perspectives for the variety of choices you will face all through your career.
Myth: Mentorship has to be a formal affair only
Fact: This is probably the most common illusion surrounding mentorship. People are often asking how they can seek advice from a person who doesn't work in the same industry or go to a person who has no experience in my field.
But, often people find themselves in a position in their professional lives where a piece of advice from someone outside the work goes miles for them. It comes with a fresh view of matters and can turn into a constructive relationship.
Myth: Mentorship is a long-term commitment
Fact: No rule requires a mentor-mentee relationship to be spanned out for years. With the fast-paced lives that we live today, even a small consultation can be categorized as mentorship.
There is no need to hesitate to seek advice for any period of time, however small it may be, and not hope for long heart-to-heart talks.
Myth: A mentor is like a therapist to help you through your problems
Facts: There is a fundamental difference between how one engages with a therapist to get medical help and how one seeks advice from a mentor. Mentors guide you through your issues, mostly personal, while a therapist is a medical professional who will charge for the sessions conducted.
Myth: Mentor is like charity counseling
Fact: Mentoring is a two-way street. Whenever and however you seek advice from somebody, be clear about what you have to offer them in return. It is a great way to interest a potential mentor to be interested in investing her energy and time in you.
Myth: A mentor is like a coach
Fact: No mentorship includes training and activities like coaching. Mentorship is more about the exchange of thoughts and ideas. The relationship between a mentor and a mentee is more personal and broader than with a coach.
Myth: Mentorship is more beneficial if done face to face
Fact: The mode of advice doesn’t make any difference to the quality and value of mentorship. Virtual meetings have gained popularity in recent times and have become the primary mode of professional communication.
You can have a mentor sitting miles away from you and interact using the advanced technology we are lucky to have.
Myth: Only seniors are good enough to advise you
Fact: Reverse mentoring is becoming popular each day. Juniors in any profession are vigorous and it can be beneficial for the seniors to look beyond experience and embrace the ideas of a young fresh mind.
Myth: You don’t need a mentor once you have progressed in your career
Fact: There will come a time when you will transition from seeking advice to offering advice. But this does not mean that you won’t need someone to guide you at that stage.
Being a senior professional comes with a tremendous challenge. But to seek advice and words of experience is how you can keep up with the challenge.
Tips on how you can seek a mentor to get a fruitful mentorship experience:
- Be thorough with your self-assessment and know exactly what your challenges are.
- Consider building a network of people who you can reach out to and maintain those networks.
- Finding the right help at the right time from the right person is an important factor that affects the efficacy of the mentorship.
- Honesty and transparency is the key to a healthy mentor-mentee rapport.
- Choose the right words when you approach someone for advice. You should use a positive tone while asking someone to spend their time and energy on you.
- Be crystal clear with your purpose and expectations of seeking guidance.
- Be grateful to your mentor for their time. A humble appreciation goes a long way in such relationships.
- Always follow up to let them know how their advice fared with you.
- It is better to ask for help than to assume that you will somehow make it through every challenge thrown your way.
The bottom line is, mentoring doesn’t have to be limited by any figments. The core of mentorship is how you seek advice and look up to your mentor for inspiration. It is crucial to remember that mentorship is not a full-proof solution to all your problems. It is just advice that still requires action from you. It is never too early or too late to seek advice. The current global scenario has amplified the value of the right guidance and information.
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Frequently asked questions
1. What are good questions to ask a mentor?
Following are some examples of questions you can ask a mentor
- What do you suggest for encouraging innovative ideas in the team?
- How do you constantly challenge your assumptions and prejudices?
- What’s the best advice you can give for a successful career in the industry
2. Why should I seek mentorship?
- Having a mentor can change your life. It can help you in understanding yourself and paving your path to success. With advice from an experienced mentor, you can cross the obstacles with ease and triumph at great heights.
3. What are the qualities of a good mentor?
- A good mentor is one who has adequate knowledge and expertise in a subject matter. And in order to mentor someone, they must be enthusiastic to share the knowledge and an eagerness to talk to peers. Listening and the ability to show empathy are also part of good mentoring.
4. What to say when thanking a mentor?
- You can thank your mentor by telling about their impact on your life and show your appreciation for everything they have done for you. Also, you must mention that if there is any way you can repay them, they can let you know. You can end on a note of hope to continue the relationship and work together in the future.
5. What makes a good mentee?
- A good mentee is one who is courageous and persevering. They must be clear about what they want out of the mentorship and must be swift in following up on any advice given. Moreover, a good mentee is one who takes feedback constructively and strives to learn from the setbacks instead of giving up.