In every community of which I’ve been a part, mentoring and coaching has always been a thing that has been greatly admired. Regardless of our place in life, having a mentor with whom we can share our struggles in life is a desired position. When someone says they have a mentor, they are immediately elevated another notch on the esteem scale. Not only have they desired what we all desire, they have actually found one!
What is it about a true mentor that is so appealing to us? I don’t know anyone that does not struggle with some area of life. Having access to counsel in navigating those situations is a significant source of comfort for us. Further, most of us reach a point in our lives when we accept responsibility for our own lives and as a result look beyond our parents for wisdom that would give us new insights.
How should we go about finding a mentoring and coaching relationship?
First, write down some thoughts about what you are looking for in a mentoring relationship. Some are simply looking for a relationship with an adult that they never had while they were growing up. In a sense they are looking to fill the need we all have for a caring adult that may not have been fulfilled by our parents. Others might be looking for a career coach, a spiritual guide, or marriage counselor. Still others are merely looking for a friend. It is important that you understand what you’re looking for so that you can manage your expectations.
Second, start looking in places where you would like to find someone who shares your values and that you can respect. That may be a college campus or your church or a respected colleague at work. Recognize that whatever the setting, no one is perfect, but find a person who has a reputation of being respected when they speak.
Third, find a way to be introduced to this person and then invite them to coffee or lunch or some other relaxed setting. Your first conversation should not be about mentoring. Your first conversation should be about getting to know the other person. This will give you both some insight into your compatibility. If after two or three meetings you feel there is a connection with this person and they continue to demonstrate a life well lived, ask that person whether they would be willing to mentor you.
There are many more aspects to this that we’ll discuss in other articles but to even get started on such a meaningful journey of having a mentoring and coaching influence in your life follow the above three basic steps.