6 steps to mentorship

How to find a mentor, plus how to be a great teacher

6 steps to mentorship

Source: Best Health Magazine, March/April 2009

How to find a mentor

1. Take control. Don’t pin your hopes on corporate mentorship programs. The best person is the one you choose yourself because the fit is right, says psychologist Susan Pinker.

2. Be selective. The ideal mentor appreciates your talents, wants to see you succeed and will give you honest feedback. Look beyond your industry to broaden your perspective. And remember: While a mentor’s praise can boost your ego, constructive criticism boosts your long-term prospects.

3. Be respectful. Mentors are busy people, and the word ‘mentorship’ suggests a major commitment. Never ask anyone to be your mentor until you’ve established a strong rapport.

How to be a mentor

4. Be realistic. Some of us are born teachers, but those who are not can damage an ego by being too blunt.

5. Don’t assume you have all the answers. Instead of telling your protegé how to resolve a dilemma, share stories about how you or others met the same challenge. Listen as she finds her own solution.

6. Know your limits. Women who relish mentoring may become so absorbed in bringing others along that they neglect themselves. Pinker tells of a professor who cancelled her vacation because students swamped her with pleas for personal and academic guidance.

This article was originally titled "Can mentorship change your life?" in the March/April 2009 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!’and make sure to check out what’s new in the latest issue of Best Health.