Framework curated by Meghann Coleman, Director at MindFrame Connect
As an entrepreneur, seeking out mentors can be one of the most pivotal aspects of the growth of your business. To get the most out of this relationship, one must be intentional in the mentors they select and ensure that they are surrounding themselves with diverse perspectives and those who fill identified gaps in the business as well as personal skills set.
To begin, a potential mentee should have a strong understanding of their own skills and where they need support. Using a framework such as a Personal SWOT Analysis to determine your core competencies, areas for improvement, and opportunities for growth is a great place to start.
This analysis will encourage you to do some reflecting on areas such as:
With an understanding and awareness of where your skills map out, finding mentors who can support and guide you while also helping you grow is critical. You also want to find more than one, so you can benefit from a diversity of thought and experience. If you identify fundraising as an area for improvement, consider a mentor who has extensive pitching and VC experience or if your company lacks structure, think about a mentor who has an operating background.
Refer to MindFrame Connect’s Mentor Personas for examples on different types of mentors.
Once you’ve identified your ideal mentors, it’s time to do your research. Learn all you can about them and make notes of why they would be your ideal mentor. Also, think about ways that they can learn from you; what are the unique traits that you bring to the table?
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your network for introductions to your prospective mentors, but remember to make it easy for them. Send as much information as possible and structure it so they can easily forward it along. Make your ask clear. For those outside your network, pitch your case for why you want a particular individual as a mentor and offer what they can learn in return.
When it’s time to make the ask to your potential mentor(s) discuss the assessment you’ve undergone on your own skills and where you’re looking for guidance. Tell them why their background aligns with where you need to grow and clearly outline your expectations of the mentor-mentee relationship. Don’t forget to provide an alternative should their answer be no. For example, advise that if they don’t have the capacity to be a mentor at this time, you would appreciate a recommendation on someone who might be.
Finally, consider joining an accelerator, studio, or structured mentorship program where you can meet many mentors in a condensed period. This can be an effective way to meet and vet potential long-term mentors.
Good luck as you embark on the mentee journey and remember to check back to mindframeconnect.com for additional support along the way.
We draw these best practices from the first-hand experience of program managers like you and our own expertise. This white paper is a comprehensive guide that will be your roadmap to building a world-class mentoring program.