Create Your Board of Mentors – January is National Mentoring Month

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For National Mentoring Month, consider creating your Personal Board of Mentors. Having one mentor is seldom ever enough these days, because no one person can assist you with all your mentoring needs. It is your responsibility to ensure that all your needs are taken care of. Your Personal Board of Mentors is similar to an organization’s Board of Directors, except in this instance, you are the organization. You don’t have to meet with all the members on your Board of Mentors like an organization’s board would, but you do have to be in contact with them.

Before you choose the members of your personal board, you have to first assess your needs based on where you’d like to end up in life. Whatever you do should be a part of your life plan and subsequently take you closer to achieving your big goals.

Mentoring Needs Assessment

  1. What are your vision, mission and purpose in life?
  2. In the next three years, where would you like to be in your personal and professional life? Are you committed to achieving your personal and professional goals listed above?
  3. Think about your professional goals, what gaps exist between where you are now, to where you would like to be in the next three years?
  4. What actions do you have to take to fill those gaps?
  5. Who are the experts that you can learn from, and what are their areas of expertise?
  6. Of the experts that you identified, which ones do you respect and are respected by others?
  7. Why do you need a mentor? What can a mentor help you with?
  8. If trusted friends could introduce you to five people who would be ideal mentors for you, who would you choose?
  9. Would your ideal mentors be similar to the experts you identified above?
  10. Could your ideal mentors assist you with achieving your identified goals, and close the gap you identified above.

After you have answered the questions above, you are in a better position to find the appropriate persons to assist you in filling those gaps. There are also specific types of people who you should have on your Personal Board of Mentors.

  • Connector: A well-respected person in the community who has influence, authority and access to an extensive network of people.
  • Industry Expert: Someone who has already traveled the path that you are now on, and is willing to share her experiences, both good and bad with you.
  • The Listener: Someone who you can call when you are having a down day, who will allow you to rant for a while, to get things off your “chest,” so that you can focus on your next steps.
  • Tough Lover: An objective person who is willing to tell you like it is, holding you accountable to keep your promises and remain on track to achieve your goals.
  • Sponsor: A senior level person in your organization who will open doors for you. But the catch is that you have to make yourself memorable so that he will choose you. Typically you choose your mentors, but sponsors choose you. An example of how to make yourself memorable is to take on difficult projects that others do not want, then do them successfully.
  • And one other person who will also help you to achieve your goals based on the needs you identified above.

All the people on your Board should care about your success, and be willing to accept a quick call from you. Be very honest and clear with the members of your Board, let them know exactly what you require from them, and make it very easy for them to help you. Mentoring is about give and take, so find ways to give back to your mentors, and always let them know how much you appreciate what they are doing for you.

When you have decided who you would like to be on your Board, ask them if they would be willing to mentor you, and explain what’s required. It goes without saying that you should take some time to get to know them first before asking for a favour. And it is even better if there is someone who could provide an introduction. With social media, this is a lot easier to do today than it was five short years ago.

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Many readers read this blog from other sites, so why don’t you pop over to The Invisible Mentor and subscribe (top on the right hand side) by email or RSS Feed.

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