Ten Questions to Help You Choose a Mentor

By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 10-02-2012

Ten Questions to Help You Choose a Mentor

1. “Is this person reliable and accountable?”
Productive, career-focused strategy sessions only work if both parties show up and give it their best.

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2. “Does he have skills that I want?”
Well-roundedness is admirable. But your professional growth demands more than a “one size fits all” approach.

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3. “Is he capable of meaningful conversations about topics that are relevant to my performance?”
In addition to the right kind of experience, your mentor must be able to effectively articulate lessons learned.

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4. “Can he relate to your experiences?”
If he expresses complete disconnect with what you deal with day-to-day, it’s not likely the right fit.

 

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5. “Do his accomplishments inspire you?"
Don’t be overly influenced by status. Look at what the potential partner has actually achieved that you’d like to emulate.

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6. “Can you articulate firm, concrete expectations with this person?”
Setting concrete goals with timelines helps frame conversations and anticipate progress.

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7. “Can he take complex problems and find their essence?”
It’s that “wise outsider” perspective that will help you more readily tackle what once seemed impossible.

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8. “Does he see problems before they happen?”
If so, he very well may keep you from making mistakes that will damage your credibility.

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9. “Does he take smart risks?”
Well-researched, calculated risks are the fuel of disruptive innovation.

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10. “Does he tell you what you need to know – as opposed to what you want to hear?”
Enablers of bad thinking often transform promising leaders into failed executives.

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