Finding/Choosing a Mentor

Know what you want out of the relationship before you approach potential mentors.

To achieve the best outcome of the mentoring relationship, the mentor and mentee should establish not only their individual needs and goals, but identify the needs, goals and expectations of the mentoring partnership.

Traits of a Potential Mentor:

  • Job performance

    • Are they recognized as effective leaders?
    • Are they considered role models of character and values?
    • Do they develop subordinates well?
    • Do they support the vision and mission of UC Davis?
    • Does the prospective mentor have strategic outlook planning and thinking?
  • Interpersonal Skills

    • Do they have a history of positive relationships with a diverse scope of individuals?
    • Do they have a history of freely sharing experiences and insight with others?
    • Are they a trusted resource in their own organization?
    • Are they someone you feel you could trust and spend time with?
  • Learning Capacity

    • Is the prospective mentor aware of their strengths and weaknesses?
    • Are they personally committed to continuous growth and receptive to new ideas and approaches?
  • Where to Find Potential Candidates
  • > Former and current supervisors
    > Leaders in your field
    > Volunteer managers
    > Alma mater alumni
    > LinkedIn
    > Mentoring programs
    > Leader in your company/institution
    > Business-savvy relative or friend
    > An experienced colleague in a different department
    > A recommendation from a friend or colleague

Approaching a Potential Mentor

It is much easier to find a mentor within the ranks of people you already know. Observe work and communication styles to identify a mentor who would be the right fit for you.

Ask the Right Way

Keep in mind that you are requesting a favor that will require a potential mentor’s time and energy. Request a face-to-face meeting. Do not ask your mentor to be your mentor via email. Key points of the ask will convey that you admire the person and their work, you have enthusiasm for growth, and your desire to learn from their skills and experiences. Communicate clear goals, objectives and expectations to your potential mentor. Explain that you are looking for guidance, not a tutor or to shadow. Be able to provide information about the mentoring process and what it entails to be a mentor. Follow-up if they seem amenable to the mentoring partnership.