Actionable Tips On How To Ask Someone To Be Your Mentor

Learn how to ask someone to be your mentor and how to get noticed by potential mentors. In this guide, we’re going to cover actionable tips!

Asking someone to be your mentor takes some preparation. Obviously, your goal is always to increase your chances of getting a resounding “Yes!”, but that takes strategy and some creativity. 

In this action guide, we’re going to show you:

  • How to choose a mentor.
  • How to get noticed by potential mentors.
  • How to ask potential mentors to mentor you.
  • How to make a lasting impression on your mentor.

There are several challenges you’ll have to overcome when getting a mentor:

  • They aren’t interested
  • They don’t have time
  • You can’t get their attention
  • Your emails and calls are getting ignored by gatekeepers

Let’s get right into it.

How to get noticed by potential mentors

Now that you know who to approach, it’s time to start thinking about the “how”. Getting noticed by a potential mentor can be difficult, so here are 5 creative approaches to get that person to say yes:

5 Creative Ways to Approach a Mentor

1. BE VISIBLE Use social media to your advantage. Become a part of their community and start interacting with their content.

Your goal is to become a familiar face. Over time, they’ll take notice of you which will make asking them to be your mentor that much easier.

2. BUILD UP YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE – Try to establish yourself in their space through social media posts, blog articles, and videos. You don’t need to be an expert, but showing a genuine interest in their domain is key.

This approach is a bit roundabout but it’s effective. Instead of thinking about asking a mentor, you’re creating opportunities for the connection to happen naturally. By building a strong online presence, you’re becoming relevant in your own way.  

3. CONNECT WITH THEIR CIRCLE – Spend 15 minutes or so doing research who your target mentor is connected with and see if you can create value for their circle.  Figuring out how to ask a mentor is easier with a “warm” introduction from someone they trust.

There’s also the possibility that these mutual connections already exist, making this approach potentially easier than others. 

4. TAG THEM ON SOCIAL POSTS – This strategy is bold but it can yield huge results. Creating a valuable post on social media and tagging your target mentor could help you get in front of them.

The key here will be to deliver something that generates engagement for the potential mentor to take notice. Your goal, as always, should be to make the post relevant to their business and line of work. This can’t be a gimmick you come up with, and it must be a genuine attempt at delivering value. 

5. CONNECT WITH THE GATEKEEPER(S)Gatekeepers come in all shapes and sizes. They can be an assistant, third-party vendors, or even event coordinators.  Your goal here is to become known to the people with the connections to make a recommendation.  

Now that we know how to approach your potential mentor,  it’s time to actually do it.

Forming this type of relationship has to be mutually beneficial, and your target mentor will want to know that their time will be valued.

How to ask someone to be your mentor?

It’s possible that a “no” yesterday could’ve been a “yes” today. Timing the ask is just as important as all of the preparation you’ve done up to this point.

 

4 Strategies You Can Use When Asking Someone To Be Your Mentor


1. Do it in Person.
You’d be surprised how easy it is to actually run into the right person to mentor you. Whether it’s at a corporate event, a conference, or at the restaurant down the road, you never know!  If you run into your future mentor in person, here are some things to remember: 

  • Be professional, polite, and confident. You’re not entitled to anyone’s time, but you do have something to offer.  You need to believe that.  
  • Be direct and get to your point. If you want to grab a coffee or schedule a meeting, ask. The answer to every question you don’t ask is always no 
  • Be yourself. Authenticity goes a long way, and if your mentor is as great as you think they are, they’ll be able to see through any act you put on.

If you’re really struggling to ask someone to mentor you, here are some examples you can use to break the ice: 

  • “I really enjoyed your presentation on (blank). Would you mind if I emailed you a few questions?”
  • “Your latest YouTube video was great. I’ve been thinking about doing something similar and could really use some advice. Would you mind grabbing a coffee sometime to talk? 
  • “I read your article and I thought your insight was refreshing. I’m looking for an internship in the field and was hoping to connect with you. Would you mind if I reached out to you on LinkedIn? 

This isn’t an exhaustive list but hopefully, it helps you figure out how to start the conversation to eventually ask someone to be your mentor!

2. Email your target mentor. 

This is probably the easiest way to reach out to a potential mentor because it’s pretty low risk.  Handling rejection through email is much easier than doing it in person, but email is lacking in other ways.  

For one, email is missing the human component of a face to face conversation which can go a long way. If you need to use email to ask someone to be your mentor there are a few things to remember:

  • Tone, grammar, and word choice matter. Writing an email can be tricky because you have to anticipate how the other person will receive your message.
  • Empathy can go a long way. Try to understand your audience and answer their questions before they come up.
  • Links can help. People might be hesitant to click on attachment and external links but if the links are to respected sites, they can work to your advantage. Including samples of your work can help you catch their attention. Use start a conversation around your portfolio by saying things like:
    • “I was impressed by your work and want to try something similar. Would you mind giving me feedback?”
    • “What motivated you to work hard and achieve so much?
    • “I have attached my research study on (insert topic related to target mentors field). I’d love to know what you think.”
    • “I am doing a paper on (insert topic), and I could really use your perspective. Can I get a quote from you?”

3. Try calling them. 

Getting a hold of your mentor through the phone is probably the toughest because you have to get past the gatekeeper(s). Here are some tips to help you connect with your target mentor on the phone:

  • Create a warm introduction by emailing ahead of time. If you have questions or want your mentor to see your portfolio, send them in an email. At least this way, when they get your call you aren’t a total stranger. 
  • Do your research. Knowing their industry and role is important in understanding how to approach them. A middle manager is going to have a different set of responsibilities than a CEO. A mentor’s job is to help guide you, but you have to do some of the leg work.
  • Write out your talking points before the call. This one is simple–be prepared.  

If you manage to get them on the line, figure out the best way get straight to the point. Tell them what you’re looking for and why they’re the perfect person to help you.

4. Leverage social media.

It’s so easy to mention a potential mentor in a post and get their attention. Forming this type of relationship has to be mutually beneficial, and your target mentor will want to know that their time will be valued.  

Here are some things to remember when leveraging social media to ask someone to be your mentor:

  • Make sure that your own social media profiles showcase your talent  
  • Be authentic
  • Connect with your mentor and their circle
  • Get involved in their community. 
  • Interact with other players in the same field
  • Send them a DM when you’re ready. 

REMINDER: The answer to every question you don’t ask is always no. 

How to make a lasting impression on your mentor

Whatever the outcome from asking someone to be your mentor may be, always remember to act professionally. Here are some important things to remember.

  • Your reputation is professional currency which will either open or close doors for you in the future. Be authentic in every interaction and be empathetic.
  • Your potential mentors are people with lives, goals, and families that are taking up their time. It’s important to remember no one owes you anything. 
  • Be confident in your abilities and what you have to offer, and don’t be discouraged by the “No’s” that come your way.
  • Just because the right person said no now, doesn’t mean that there isn’t an opportunity to revisit the topic. 
  • Set a reminder to follow up in 3 to 6 months after you’ve made additional progress and see if your future mentor takes notice. Initiative and persistence go a long way. 

Now that you know the different techniques, you can prepare, plan, and execute. The good news is, wayahead has given you a shortcut to finding a mentor. You don’t have to formulate ways on how to ask your prospect. We’ve prepared the process for you. 

wayahead takes care of finding and connecting you with the right person to mentor you no matter the career path you’ve chosen. We’ll help you navigate your future by giving you access to great mentors across every industry, giving you a community that will support and help you grow your network.

Sign up now at wayahead or download our app at the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. 

Change your life and let our mentors help guide you in the right direction. If you like this article, be sure to share it on social media and comment below!

Angel Santiago
Servant Leader | MBA | Veteran | Founder @ wayahead.io

April 29, 2020

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