Mentoring typically involves an experienced and usually older person taking someone more junior under their wing. While you might not have thought of it as such, you would have experienced mentoring from parents, school teachers and TAFE NSW tutors, sports coaches and bosses.
But having a mentor when you're an adult is a little different.
In this instance, it usually involves forming a relationship with someone who's been successful in their career and/or at running a business and turning to them for advice, motivation or to bounce your thoughts and ideas off.
There are countless cases of high-achieving people who probably never would have reached the heights they did without the support of a mentor. Oprah Winfrey, for example, was poor growing up in one of the most segregated states in the US when she first met the school teacher who was to become her mentor.
Some mentor-protégé relationships form organically. Alternatively, you might actively pursue a relationship with someone you respect in order to learn from them. Some companies even have formal mentoring programs in place to match up junior and senior employees. Even if they don't, the HR department may be able to put you in touch with someone if you ask.
If you're self-employed, you might choose to contact someone whom you admire. Ask if they will meet you for coffee to give you some career advice, then see where things go from there.
Additionally, there are many organisations, like The Enterprise Hub and Small Business Mentoring Service that connect those who wish to mentor with those seeking mentoring. And if all else fails, it might be worth hiring a business coach to act as your mentor.
Like friendships, it's difficult to force a mentor-protégé relationship and it will quickly become apparent if things aren't working out. If you make the wrong choice of mentor or simply outgrow the mentor-protégé relationship, there's no shame in seeking out someone who's a better match for you.
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