Connecting with a mentor is a recommended way to help people get through life’s challenging events. A mentor can be there to provide guidance in the best and worst of times. The following are tips to help anyone find the ideal mentor.

What is a Mentor?
The formal definition is that of a trusted, experienced, and usually older advisor. A good mentor gives someone positive advice based on his or her own years of experience. This person also gives constructive criticism that is not overly critical or harsh if another person makes mistakes. 

A person is not a mentor when he or she fails to give positive, uplifting feedback that encourages the other person to do better. A mentor is also not supposed to be a best friend. He or she is a cross between an older, wiser friend and a concerned parent or teacher.

In the article from IMDiversity, Management Consultant and Author Christie Lindor talks about the significance of increasing diversity among mentor/mentee relationships. Mentees are typically connecting with mentors of similar backgrounds, but it is important to work with those of different backgrounds as well. This can help increase access to mentorship opportunities for individuals of all backgrounds.  

Set Clear Goals
Setting clear goals is necessary to find the right  mentor. For one person, a  goal may be  to stay clear of drugs, but for someone else, the main goal is to develop a new learning skill. It is important to clarify what you want to get out of the relationship. 

Anyone can be a friend, but not anyone can be a guide. A mentor is not just someone to talk to. Everyone has a specific reason for needing a source of intimate, personal guidance. You will be best served by defining your goals and expectations for your interactions with your mentor.

Decide the Type of Mentor Needed
Working with a mentor who provides general knowledge is not usually the best option. It’s important to know the individual’s background, including professional skills, personal interests, and specialized areas of expertise. This will help you define your mentors area of expertise. 

Nowadays, there are virtual mentors who work solely online. Additionally, some mentors work in teams and hold group sessions where multiple people attend. However, most people use a combination of communication methods, such as emails, texts, phone calls, and video meetings. 

Mentors are further classified by the types of approaches and techniques they use to teach their mentees. Every mentee must be specific about the problems they have and take responsibility for working with their mentor to explore  the solutions needed to resolve them.

It is also important to remember the positive impact that mentoring can have for women and minorities. Not only can it help encourage them to further their own career opportunities, but it can also help them break into new industries. Encouraging mentorship opportunities for women and minorities have a number of major benefits that should not be overlooked.

As a mentor, it is important to continue to expand one’s own knowledge of how to help future mentees of all backgrounds. Expand your own knowledge about different approaches to take to mentoring, and use resources to improve your own skills long term.