The Mentorist


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The ‘M’ Word: How to Find a Mentor

If you take just one thing away from this blog post, let it be this:  Never ask someone to become your mentor.

In fact, the last time I was asked that question, I responded, “Can’t we start with lunch, instead?”

What many people don’t realize is that a mentoring relationship can’t be forced.  It needs to be based on the chemistry between two people and to develop organically over time.

That’s one reason formal mentoring programs set up by companies and firms often fail.  They use arbitrary criteria to pair people up and then expect ‘just-add-water’ results.  It doesn’t work that way.

So, what’s the path to finding a mentor?  There isn’t a clear one.  But, here are some thoughts on positioning yourself so that a mentor will ‘happen’ to you: Continue reading


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Dial ‘M’ for Mentor

Perhaps it’s the fallout from Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In — or the ‘I-want-it-and-I-want-it-now’ ethos created by one-click shopping.  Whatever the reason, more and more professional women seem to be on a frantic hunt, of late, for someone within their company’s hierarchy to serve as their mentor.

But here’s the thing: Designating that a particular person in your firm or company is going to become your mentor has about as much chance of succeeding as does getting married to the first person you meet on match.com. (Don’t ask how I know that.)

I’m focusing this blog post on professional women, because men are mentored all the time by senior men in their organizations — whether or not they’re willing to call it that.  They’re also ‘sponsored’ (a subject for another Mentorist post), but — in my view — ‘male mentoring’ is, at least, as important to their success. Continue reading