In IBM: You can ask your manager or other mentors for a referral. You can search Bluepages, the corporate directory . You can contact people whose presentations you like. You can read people’s blogs or profile updates. You can share what you know and ask people to help you with what you want to learn.
I find it really difficult to start by asking someone to be my mentor. If you’re shy like me, you might find it useful to start by asking someone for a small piece of advice. Apply that advice and share your results. Ask another question, get more advice, share more results. This way, you can gradually build a relationship.
I often find it intimidating to have one-on-one conversations with mentors. It’s surprisingly easier to learn from people if you have many mentors instead of just one or two. That’s because you can ask a lot of people questions, get insights from whoever’s available, and share what you’re learning with everyone. It’s like the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Build your village of mentors.
You already know the importance of thanking your mentors for the time and effort they share – but don’t stop there. Show your return on investment. Show what you’re doing with their advice, and they’re more likely to help you in the future. Take notes and share them with your mentors so that they can save time by sharing those notes with other people. Ask questions and learn about other topics. Share what you’re learning with other people.
And don’t wait until you consider yourself a mentor before you find mentees. Share what you’re learning right away, so that you can learn more effectively and build more relationships. How can you find mentees? Tell people which topics you can help people with, and ask if they know anyone who might be interested. Put together presentations – they’re a great way to reach many people. Write your thoughts down in notes, articles, e-mail messages, or blog posts. You don’t have to wait for someone to formally ask you to be a mentor, either. Look for people you can help, and help them. As you help people, you’ll find that you’ll learn a lot along the way.