(This article is part of a series originally published in Japan by ALC Press English Journal, and is written in …
Some mentoring relationships last a single meeting, but others last a lifetime. Sometimes a mentoring relationship will turn into a long term relationship. (No, I don’t mean that you sleep with your mentor, or marry them.) I mean that they will come to value and enjoy the mentoring relationship as much as you do. This has happened in several of my mentoring relationships. Because we enjoyed our mentoring sessions so much we continued them beyond the point where I was seeking advice and guidance from them. Eventually they started to ask me for advice.
If you’d like to benefit from mentoring from an expert who’s truly extraordinary, but you feel a bit daunted by their presence, consider gathering two or three people who’d like to share the journey with you. While you might like to keep them all to yourself, having a bigger audience could increase your chances of landing a highly skillful mentor, make the experience less awkward, and you might also learn a lot from the other people in your mentoring circle.
Some of the best mentoring I’ve ever received is from executives. Ask your executives to spend some time sharing their vision with you. Here’s how: “Jared, I’ve been working here for just about 6 months, and I really like the way you’re leading this division. My manager has shared your strategic plan with our team, and I’ve read all of your messages about our direction, but I’d love to hear your vision from you directly. Would you be willing to spend 15 minutes or so over a cup of coffee sharing your view of our future with me? I promised I’ll make it worth your while by making sure my work is aligned with the direction you’re setting.”