Finding the Mentoring You Need

Finding the Mentoring You Need

Throughout your career, you may have many mentors who guide your work, help you navigate your career and provide support along the way.  Peer mentors can provide critical feedback on your work, introduce you to new networks, and provide impartial sounding boards.  Senior mentors can offer you perspective & help you navigate your career path.  The key to finding the mentoring you need is to first reflect on your strengths & weaknesses, your career goals, & your interests.

First, consider the following two questions:

  • What mentoring needs are important to you at this time?
  • Which mentors can fill each of the needs you identified?

 Then, create your own mentoring map by identifying potential mentors to address each of your needs:

 

Tips for building your network of mentors:

  • Identify the types of knowledge and relationships that would be helpful to you.
  • Look for mentors among your peers, in positions you’d like to achieve, with shared academic backgrounds or experiences, and throughout your professional networks.
  • Approach potential mentors by focusing on a specific area of expertise and experience.
  • Remember to:
    • Openly discuss mutual expectations with your mentor.
    • Communicate regularly with your mentor.
    • Be respectful of the mentor’s time & commitments.
    • Acknowledge the mentor’s help and support & thank them.

References:
Nature’s Guide for Mentors by Lee, Dennis & Campbell,2007 Nature 447,791
Find Yourself the Mentoring You Need by Mary Rowe 2009, MIT Ombuds Office
Self Mentoring by Ed Bertschinger 2012
Multiple mentoring in academe: Developing the professional network by de Janasz & Sullivan 2004