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The 2024 Mentorship Roadmap – The Search For Your Ideal Mentor Begins Here

Written by: Jamie McKinney, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Jamie McKinney

Have you ever found yourself in a mismatched mentorship? The discomfort of not syncing with your mentor's beliefs or struggling to maintain professionalism while not aligning in discussions can be more challenging than a disappointing first date. Unlike a one-time date, a mismatched mentorship might persist. If you've experienced this, it doesn't have to sour your perspective.

Jamie McKinney with one of her valued mentors, Evan Roth.

Jamie McKinney with one of her valued mentors, Evan Roth.

January is National Mentoring Month. There is no time like the present to connect with the right mentor, as landing on a great match is the 1 way to elevate your career and expand your professional horizons! Follow the roadmap outlined here to create a valuable mentor match.

1. Evaluate your professional skill gaps

Before delving into mentorship considerations, self-assessment is key. Identify the professional skills most pivotal for your growth this year. Are you aiming for an advanced engineering designation or seeking enhanced proficiency in data analysis? On the leadership front, perhaps refining public speaking, enhancing expectation management, maintaining composure under pressure, or mastering influence from any role holds significance. For guidance on skill gaps and aligning them with your goals, refer to this insightful article. Outline a few skills that would generate value for you and your professional environment.

2. Identify industry experts

Explore individuals with proficiency in the skills you identified in step one. If your network is extensive, you might have potential candidates in mind. Alternatively, inquire within your existing contacts for recommendations—someone adept at data analysis or proficient in handling pressure situations. Additionally, explore LinkedIn or professional associations for promising candidates.

3. Initiate contact

This step is pivotal. Once you've curated a shortlist of potential mentors, the approach isn't to rush into full mentorship mode immediately. Instead, establish initial contact by inviting them for a casual conversation. Clearly articulate your reason for reaching out and express your eagerness to learn from their expertise. Assure them of your preparedness with specific questions and respect for their time.

Bonus Tip: Aim high when seeking a mentor. I once challenged myself by reaching out to 25 female CEOs overseeing multi-million dollar companies. While not all responded, some did, and one even led a company that later became my client.

Aim for the stars! Shoot for out of your league. In my 3 Pillars of Leadership coaching program, I encourage participants to choose a Fantasy Mentor—someone they deeply admire but may feel unreachable. The challenge? Engage with them via direct messages, social media tags, or tweets. You never know when this bold move might yield a life-changing connection.

4. Engage with multiple mentor candidates

Comparable to dating, sans any romantic implication, meeting various candidates broadens your scope and enhances the likelihood of finding a natural rapport with your potential mentor. How do you recognize the right fit? The conversation will flow effortlessly. You'll be astonished at how time flies, finding yourself immersed in dialogue without realizing it. Your mentor-to-be will exude enthusiasm for the interaction. They'll be attentive, actively engaging, responsive to your queries, and also have questions for you.

5. Formalize the relationship

Continue with Step 4 interactions until you discover the perfect match. Once that connection solidifies, it's time to formalize the arrangement. It's crucial to define the relationship, establishing respective roles and expectations for both mentor and mentee. While a direct approach—asking, 'Will you be my mentor?'—can be effective, a softer approach might suit better. Consider phrasing options such as, 'I've truly valued our interactions and the knowledge gained. I'm eager to learn more from you. Would it be possible to schedule another meeting? As you know, I’m seeking guidance in. Continuing this journey with your mentorship would mean a lot to me.’

Supportive Mentors play an essential and exciting role in professional development, skill enhancement, and career fulfillment. Professionals who actively seek mentors are the same ones you see speaking on panels, accepting promotions, and getting involved in exciting projects. Success does not happen on an island. Take a proactive step and chart your 5-Step Roadmap towards finding a mentor. When you connect with the right mentor, both your lives may never be the same.

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Jamie McKinney Brainz Magazine

Jamie McKinney, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Jamie Dandar McKinney, MBA, is an award-winning coach and the best-selling author of Speak Up, Sister! The Professional Woman's Guide to Confidence and Success. Recognized as an Emerging Training Leader and a Top Woman in Energy, Jamie jokes that her stilettos have steel toes. After two decades in male-dominated industries, Jamie mastered building confidence as deliberately as building muscle and leading with authenticity. Through her dynamic programs—The 3 Pillars of Leadership and Speak UP to Level UP®—she empowers you to ditch doubts, amplify your voice, and propel your career. Get ready for results with Coach Jamie championing you!



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