You’re swimming. Cruising through fluorescent-dappled water, exploring corporate castles and finding your place amongst the glittery pebbles and fake seaweed. Consulting can feel like you’re in a fish tank. You’re a piece of the office – a part of the team, but an invisible barrier separates you from the rest. A mentor can be the hammer that breaks the glass.
Why You Should Find a Mentor
A mentor is a living, breathing textbook for your workplace. A resource to get ahead, both in networking and in learning about your business. Maybe they have the same position as you, but have been with the company longer. Maybe they have the position you see yourself in down the line. Maybe their job is completely unrelated to you, but their network could offer you opportunities. Whatever the case, they have connections and insight about your company that could make a huge difference in understanding your role and building relationships within your workplace.
How to Find a Good Mentor
So how do you find a mentor? There are many ways! This can range from asking a fellow co-worker or cube mate to grab coffee once a month, to being formally paired by your manager or a digital pairing tool on your company’s internal website. Here are some other tips to get you started:
- Ask your leadership what capacity you have for mentorship and what resources are available to you.
- Get to know the people who sit with you, even if you don’t work together directly.
- Participate in, or even plan yourself, team engagement activities.
The initiative to seek out a mentor exhibits both interest in your company and a commitment to growth within your role.
How to Effectively Utilize a Mentor
After finding a mentor, the question becomes, what to do? Ask questions. A lot of them. Bring an agenda of sorts to your meetings. Don’t force conversations — but do facilitate. Make it easy for them and let them know that you appreciate the time they are giving you. That being said, don’t feel discouraged if your first mentor relationship isn’t what you expected. You may not land with a perfect match, especially if you are paired randomly, but you are guaranteed to learn something.
Building a network in the workplace is so important in feeling like you’ve broken the fish tank barrier of being new or contracted. If mentorship is an option for you, it could make a huge difference in your consulting experience.