5 Top Tips to Find a Professional Mentor
You’ve probably read about or experienced the benefits of having a professional mentor. For counseling psychology professionals, mentors can guide us though difficult situations in our practice, offer advice on career growth, and even connect us to new resources.
So how do you meet the perfect mentor? Here are five easy tips:
- Specify: Where do you need to grow? What are the most crucial areas to discuss with your mentor? “Clarifying your expectations, goals and objectives will ensure you find the right mentors and that the relationships benefit your professional goals,” Forbes states.
- Know: Who are your heroes in counseling psychology fields? Who do you look up to in your own community? You will know you’ve found the right mentor when you admire or respect his or her career and character. It’s necessary to also be able to learn from your mentor, trust them and enjoy their company, S. News & World Report advises. You need them to invest in you and believe in your potential.
“Before asking someone to be your mentor, consider first simply asking for input on a single specific topic. How did that go? Was it good advice? Was it delivered in a way that made sense to you, and filled you with confidence and energy?,” the publication asks.
- Define: Similar to any relationship, mentor agreements have expectations. Clearly define what you both hope to gain from the experience, the potential timeline for the relationship, your availability and schedules, and any crucial goals. Fine-tune the details to make the most of this professional opportunity.
- Explore: You may know potential mentors in your own counseling psychology practice or field, but consider branching out. You may learn more from someone in a different focus or separate profession. This might be a cliché, but we always see the most growth when we step outside of our comfort zone!
Author Brendon Burchard said “my best mentor is a mechanic – and he never left the sixth grade. By any competency measure, he doesn't have it. But the perspective he brings to me and my life is, bar none, the most helpful.”
- Leap: There are multiple resources to help with your mentor search. Your favorite counseling psychology professor may be interested in the opportunity or could point you in the right direction. Attend a networking event or research established mentor programs through the American Psychological Association. Finally, take the initiative to set up the first meeting with a potential mentor – the hands-on experience of a mentor relationship could be invaluable. Benjamin Franklin may have said it best: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
Thinking about becoming a counseling psychology mentor? It’s about more than giving back: Take a look!