Have you ever felt the need to talk to someone who could help you succeed further in your business, improve a challenging situation or help you reach your life’s goals?  A mentor may be just the key.


Research shows that people with a mentor report higher job satisfaction.  They also have a stronger commitment to their organization and are less likely to leave their jobs.  Moreover, they generally have higher salaries and experience more frequent promotions than those without a mentor.


The definition of mentoring?  It’s a developmental partnership where a mentor shares knowledge, skills, experience and perspective to foster the personal and professional growth of another. The power of mentoring answers the call to that desired thirst for objective insight and creates a one-of-a-kind opportunity for collaboration, goal achievement and problem solving.


Let’s look at five key steps you should consider when cultivating an effective mentoring relationship:

It’s the trust thing

A relationship of trust must be developed before any effective mentoring can take place.  Good mentors are honest, trustworthy and active listeners. They are engaged with you during each session, focused on your issues at hand and purposed in helping you set goals.  A mentor then continues to build upon your strengths, needs and goals throughout your journey. Cultivating this type of relationship requires active, trustworthy participation of both parties.


Who does what?

Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of both you and your mentor.  As the mentee, you should be open to feedback and an active listener, as well as an active participant.  Questions to ask your mentor might be, “How is my role different than the mentor during this process?” or “Will I be required to complete certain goals during the mentoring period?”


Go for the Goal

A good mentor will work with you to establish mutually agreed upon short- and long-term goals, which become the foundation for the mentoring process.  Your mentor can also help you track your actions and make sure you’re being realistic in your plans.


Work together

Be collaborative in solving problems.  A good mentor will allow you the opportunity to identify your concerns and potential solutions. Most importantly, they’ll allow you to take risks and do things differently by implementing creative solutions.  It’s also important to access the outcome together and make adjustments if necessary.  Don’t forget to celebrate successful results as well!  Building a connection with your mentor requires time and effort.  The strength of the relationship matters in order to implement the changes you need.


Just an email or phone call away

Stay in touch with each other!  Seek opportunities to maintain contact and accountability.  Although you may not be able to meet with your mentor on a regular basis, mentors can remain accessible even from a distance with the use of email or phone.  Whenever you agree to stay in touch, be respectful of the mentor’s time by being on time and being prepared for meetings, even if it’s a phone call.


These five steps should help jump-start you on your way to developing an effective mentoring relationship, whether it’s your life coach, a colleague or friend.   Having someone in your corner, rooting you on, providing you support and confirmation, can be a very important resource for your professional development and your life.