How to Find a Business Mentor for Women
Since women think like women and men think like men you may be better off finding a female mentor. Women also encounter a different set of problems in the work force than men do. For example, a female mentor may be better able to tell you how to crack a male-dominated industry or how to deal with gender discrimination issues.
There are many women-helping-women organizations that have mentor programs but if you already know a professional who might serve as a good mentor approach the subject casually at first. Being a mentor can be time consuming and is something that must work for both mentor and protégé (you).
Before you ask someone to become your mentor make sure you are willing to take direction from them otherwise you will just be wasting everyone’s time. Remember, you are looking for solutions, guidance, and concrete advice – not an executive to “wow” with how great your ideas are. If all your ideas are truly that great you do not need a mentor – you should consider becoming one!
To find a mentor in your industry contact a professional association or call your local social or human services department to see if free mentor programs are available in your area.
You can also register with Micromentor and see if they can match you with a volunteer mentor. The service is free but the application takes about 30 minutes to complete online.
Choosing a Friend to Be Your Mentor is Not a Good Idea
While it is helpful if you and your mentor get along on a personal level a mentor’s role is to serve as your professional guide not as a personal friend. It is vital that you be able to accept advice from a mentor and stay focused on the business. This is much harder to do if you choose someone already close to you to be a mentor. It is better to save friend and family resources for networking!