3 Keys to finding a great mentor

Who do you turn to when looking for career advice? Do you rely on books, friends or the Internet? All of these are good places; however the best advice comes directly from your mentors. This week’s podcast is with Debi Rosati C.A. ICD.D. She is a Corporate Director on a number of boards including, Sears Canada and The Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation. A former Venture Capitalist and CFO, she shares the benefit of getting external, objective and professional mentoring when it comes to managing a company.

I love the saying “don’t believe everything you think.” We are too close to many of the big decisions in our lives to see them objectively. Most mistakes are made through our biases. A good example of this is the amount of people who have a headache who think they have a brain tumor. Brain tumors are very rare and found in less than one in 50,000 people (a 0.002 % chance). Eric Horvitz and Ryen White, scientists at Microsoft’s research division, analyzed the Internet behaviour of 1 million people surfing the web. Horvitz and White’s research discovered that 25 per cent of searches for “headache” lead to a brain tumour as a possible cause. “The problem starts with bias,” says Dr. Horvitz. “Nobody is excited to write about caffeine withdrawal and its role in headaches, but brain tumours – that’s much more interesting. Search engines aren’t savvy about this bias – they are programmed to generate results relevant to the question.” In fact, a whole new term has arisen, Cyberchondria.

If you have a serious illness, do you rely on your friends and family for the diagnosis? In my practice, many clients have received poor advice from people close to them at key times. Others misinterpret their own results from career assessment tools. Often people in their network are advising them about choices based upon their own values, or upon the latest headlines in the news. This begs the question – Where do you get good advice? Successful organizations have a group of professionals like Debi, upon whom they draw for perspective and wisdom. I recommend this same principle for individuals as well. When it comes to managing your career, who is on your personal board of directors? You can go to your board to get the kind of advice that will help you. You can either make it formal or informal depending on the circumstances. Here are 3 key things that Debi recommeds to look for in a career mentor:

A diverse set of experiences and education. This enables a wide range of perspectives from different industries and professions.
A confident and proven professional track record. You get better advice from a person who does not have a personal need that they are looking for you to fill.
An openness to help with a set of values that are in alignment with you. Personal values are the “why” behind the answer. Make sure that they are looking at life with similar definitions as you.
Creating this board is one of the key ways to reduce risk and increase the chance of having a successful career. In fact, there has never been more important time to establish this in your life. According to a recent study conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, a full 96 per cent of Human Resources professionals agree that hiring a career coach delivers tangible benefits to individuals and organizations alike. So whether you need help with drafting a professional resume, assessing your skills, securing a promotion, switching jobs, or any other move, I am here to help.

Click here to book an initial risk-free consultation or, join our FREE TeleWORKshop. Looking for other ideas for what you might do next with your talents and passions? Do you need some practical help with your job search? Do you know if you are in the right career? This complimentary, 1-hour workshop is based on my book, Get the Right Job Right Now! It’s easy to learn simple ways to take control of your career, all from the comfort and convenience of your own desk. The workshop is limited to 20 registrants.

Mentoring, along the road with you!

Alan