It has happened to me on multiple occasions. A well intentioned, smart, up-and-comer asks if I’ll be their mentor. While I am always humbled and willing to help, I also want to make sure I bring value to the potential mentee.
I’ve learned over the years to ask what it is that the individual thinks I can help with and it they have other mentors for other topics. Similar to the concept of finding the correct “who” in John Strelecky’s books Big Five for Live and Life Safari, I too believe successful people surround themselves with multiple mentors with different areas of expertise. The five categories of mentors I’ve encouraged talented, high-potential people to have are:
• Educational – Mentors to help guide your education decisions.
• Professional – Mentors to provide insight and guidance for your profession.
• Organizational – Mentors to help interpret and navigate organizational land mines.
• Diversity – Mentors very different then yourself for exposure and self awareness.
• Life – Mentors to guide and understand the things life brings.
This list is not meant to be exhaustive but it does demonstrate the need for multiple mentors and finding the right advice and guidance for a particular situation.
Do you have your own mentor strategy? How do you coach those you mentor in this area?