How do I find a mentor?
If you are a newly appointed member of staff, your Head of Department or departmental administrator should help arrange a mentor for you: this is called ‘mentoring on appointment’ or ‘induction mentoring’ and is described in the guidelines on mentoring for newly appointed staff.
If you are looking for a different kind of mentoring as you progress in your role (see other headings under Types of mentoring), you can also find a mentor for yourself:
- by asking around for a suitable ‘match’
- by identifying someone you may have come across whom you think would be a good person to approach (see What makes a good mentor?)
- by offering to peer-mentor or co-coach a colleague
- by looking for an mentor, external to the University
- by searching the web for more sources of information and contacting people or projects proactively. A good starting point is the Coaching and Mentoring Network
It isn't always easy to approach someone especially if they're ‘very busy’, but take a deep breath and just ask if they'd meet you for coffee to discuss how you'd like to work with them as mentors. If they agree to mentor you, you both need to agree the ‘ground rules’ (confidentiality being the most important), frequency of meetings, expectations on both sides. The WiSETI Mentoring Guide also offers useful suggestions about managing the mentoring relationship. If you have experience in a particular area, can you offer the mentor any exchange of skills in return for their time?
You need to accept that they may say ‘no’, which they're entitled to do, as this is a voluntary activity. If they don't agree to mentor you, try not to take it as a personal rejection. If they don't feel able, for whatever reason, to mentor you, it wouldn't have worked anyway - it needs to be mutually consensual.
But don't stop there, try someone else - the most successful people are those who keep going.