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How to Build a Mentoring Relationship

Establish Your Goals and Ideas

Before you make a mentoring connection, we recommend you try to clearly define your business idea in the easiest way possible for your mentor to understand or to define two or three goals that you hope to achieve with the help of a mentor. This will not only help your future mentor to determine how s/he can best help you with your career but will also help you better understand your business challenges and opportunities.

Find a Mentor

A mentor is someone with business experience, who can become a trusted confidant to you over an extended period of time. Be proactive and deliberate in your search for a mentor. Keep an open mind as your mentor may not even be in the same business as you but has knowledge of the skills you want to adopt.

Make a Connection

When you are requesting mentoring support, remember that trust and communication are key to any relationship. Clearly outline your business idea and objectives in your request. This sample mentor request is a good example by including a concise title, outlining some background on the business and challenges in the details and indicating straight-forward ways in which a mentor can help in the goals section.

Once you have made a match, spend some time getting to know each other, telling your mentor about your entrepreneurial background and what you are working on. Explain why you think s/he would be a good fit based on their description of their experience.

Manage Your Relationship

Establish your relationship by being open and trusting, encouraging lots of questions to your business challenges to help your mentor better understand where their business advice can help you. Remember to be patient, courteous and professional throughout your mentoring relationship, responding to messages in a timely manner and listening carefully. Discuss with your mentor how you can best work together — for example, what form of communication you will both use, how often you might connect.

Develop Goals and Objectives

Once you have established a relationship and set expectations, you will want to develop your mentoring goals and business objectives with your mentor. This step will likely take some time as your mentor asks you questions about your business, career and future to help you focus on your challenges and opportunities. Remember to be patient — your mentor is volunteering his/her time and expertise.

Establish an End to Your Relationship

When developing your goals and objectives for your mentoring relationship and business, set a clear end date or goal that you will work toward. By having a clear goal in mind, you will both be working toward this date together and be able to evaluate your relationship and objectives.

Get Support from INN

If you have any questions or concerns in your mentoring relationship, please email [email protected].

For additional information on setting expectations for your mentoring relationship, please visit here.

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E-Mentor Corps is an initiative from the Global Entrepreneurship Program at the U.S. Department of State, connecting mentors with aspiring entrepreneurs around the world.
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