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  • Catherine Hodgson


Updated: Jul 29, 2021

Mentor matching can be tricky, but with a matching platform that problem is halfway solved for you. If you are on a mentoring platform you will be shown your best mentor matches, using the criteria you inputted when you filled in your profile and mentoring needs. But now, you may be wondering which mentor to reach out to and ask for mentoring. Here are some tips on what to consider before you press that button to connect with a mentor:

1. Consider what skill sets you require of your mentor

This may be obvious, however, it is important to look at the mentor’s profile to see what skills the mentor has and how applicable they are to what you require from your learning. Look at their industry skills, management skills, communication skills – are they skills that you would like to learn?

2. Look at the mentor’s experience level

Preferably you are wanting someone who has had experience in the area in which you are needing mentoring. How many years have they had in that area? Although we may think this may equate to true experience and understanding, sometimes it does not, so we need to look carefully at what they have done in that area. Is their experience up to date? Look at their LinkedIn profile as well, to see what they have been up to lately.

3. Consider if your values align or look at their strengths

Some matching platforms will show you the mentor's values. Have a look at them and see how similar or different they are to yours. What are your values? Have you reflected on what is important to you and listed your top 10 values? Do these align with your mentor’s? They do not need to completely align, but is there anything there that could cause a conflict with you?

If values are not shown, check out if there are strengths listed in their profile. Are these strengths what you are looking for in a mentor?

4. Hierarchy

Your mentor does not always need to be someone older than you. If they have the experience and knowledge that you are wanting to learn, then they could mentor you. However, it is important that your mentor is not the person that you report to directly.

5. Industry and department

It’s important to look at what industry and department your potential mentor is from. For example, if you are looking to learn management skills, then the industry or department is not important as mentoring in management is very similar across the board. However, if you are looking for guidance in a certain role or to climb the corporate career ladder, then looking for a mentor in the same industry or department is very important.

Mentoring is highly personal and you will not know if the person is a good match for you until you have a few sessions and get to know each other a bit better. Then you will be able to assess if the mentoring process is adding value to your life and your career. You will just need to take the plunge and reach out to connect with the suggested mentors – however, take consideration of these five tips before you do so.

Article by Catherine Hodgson

Catherine Hodgson is the co-founder and CEO of The Hodgson Group in South Africa and founder of SHIFT Mentoring, a mentoring and consulting company. Catherine joined YPO in 2009 and served as Global Mentoring Chair for 5 years, rolling out the YPO Mentoring program to chapters around the world, developing mentoring material and launching Mentoring Masterclasses. She believes passionately in lifelong learning and has been on a personal journey of lifelong learning in the mentoring and coaching fields. She is a YPO Mentoring Facilitator, Certified Coach and Certified in Conversational Intelligence. Married with two daughters, she lives in Cape Town, South Africa and spends five months of the year in Europe.

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