People who have climbed the corporate ladder understand the value of having a mentor, and are usually willing to help young professionals gain the upper hand in their career. While most people are open to the idea of being a mentor, you want to ask them in the right way. Here are three important things to say to someone who you want to be your mentor.
“I’ve admired your career path, and it is something that I would like to emulate.”
Even if a potential mentor knows you well, it’s still important to let them know why you want their mentorship. When asking them, give reasons why you think they would make a great mentor, and what in their career path you want to emulate. This isn’t just important in terms of giving them a reason to accept your request, but it also lets them know what you are looking to get from them long-term. You don’t need to go into too much detail, but give them reasons to say yes.
“I am looking for advice and guidance, if I have a question is it ok if I reach out to you for a brief 10 minute conversation, at your convenience?”
It’s safe to assume that your potential mentor is very busy. Whether they are still working or retired, taking on a protégé means that they have to devote time to you and your questions. It’s not that they don’t want to do it; it’s a matter of whether they have the time. With this in mind, explain that you will look for advice at their convenience. Maybe that means a 10-minute phone call on a Friday morning, or a quick text or email. Let them know that you are working on their schedule and that you don’t expect them to drop everything to answer a question. Even if your potential mentor seems eager to help, remind them that this won’t take much of their time.
“Thank you very much.”
It is important that your potential mentor knows how appreciative you are of their time. While they may like the idea of mentoring someone rising through the ranks, they are also investing their time, so reminding them that you appreciate what they are doing is important. Mentors aren’t looking for gifts or accolades; a simple “thank you” will do wonders.