If you want to grow your business or career quickly, one of the best ways to achieve that is to find a strong, experienced mentor.
Your mentor should be someone who is knowledgeable in the specific field or area you’re focusing on and will be able to provide insight, guidance, and support that will help you to succeed.
Approaching someone who is well established can be intimidating, and you might not know how to ask someone to be your mentor.
This article is designed to help. Here is a guide to asking someone to be your mentor, and it includes some of the most important points of consideration on the subject, all culminating in a method that will offer you the best chance of hearing “yes”.
We’ve collected our 10 favorited examples of how to ask someone to be your mentor:
How to Ask Someone to Be Your Mentor: Choosing the Right Mentor
Asking someone to be your mentor is a big deal and a huge favor to ask. This person will be taking time out of their busy schedule to guide and teach you.
If you want to hear ‘yes’ when you ask, these are some things you must consider before even posing the question.
Even though someone might be successful in one field, it doesn’t automatically mean that they will be a good mentor for you.
For instance, if you wish to become a tennis player but this person has been a track and field coach, they might not be the best mentor, despite operating under the athletics umbrella.
They could deny your request, not out of unwillingness, but because they don’t think the pairing would make sense.
If a potential mentor has a busy schedule, they may not have time to mentor you and could decline your request.
If you have no clue about this person’s schedule, you can consider things like if they are always texting or often need to take calls during conversations, if this person is frequently out of town, if they have just moved into a new home or maybe even have a new baby.
Even if your potential mentor just always looks tired, this could be an indication that they just don’t have the capacity for this role.
If this person has never asked you a question about how your career is going or has never given you advice, then chances are they aren’t interested in being a mentor.
However, if this person has helped you to advance your career by setting up meetings, giving you advice or suggestions, then that could be a sign that they aren’t interested in the position.
When asking someone to be your mentor, you must be clear about what you wish to accomplish.
Failing to have a clear goal in mind will make it seem like you aren’t serious about the project or like the effort they would put forth would be a waste of time.
Having a clear goal will also give your potential mentor an idea of if and how they can help you.
How to ask someone to be your mentor: Posing the Question
When you are ready to ask someone to be your mentor, you must:
Try to avoid randomly asking this person to be your mentor at an event or on the street.
Instead, send a message or email to schedule a formal meeting where you will have enough time to communicate your request, and where both of you will be able to come up with a plan.
Your plan for the mentorship should be structured before your initial meeting. Think about what your goals are and what, specifically, you want to accomplish during this period.
It should also be flexible enough to accommodate your mentor’s schedule.
When you propose the mentorship, you will communicate your willingness to work and accept correction and advice.
You are also pledging to be respectful of your mentor’s schedule and, most importantly, to stick to the plan.
This means that you should keep your word regarding what was agreed to and work to maintain the timeline propose.
Examples of How to Ask Someone to Be Your Mentor in Business
In the business world, a good mentor can be invaluable to your career, whether you are just starting or are planning on switching fields.
Here are 5 examples of how to ask someone to be your mentor in business.
Hello, [insert mentor name]. I am a recent graduate of [insert university/college name], where I completed a degree in [insert degree name].
While there, I attended a series of your presentations on [insert topics], which piqued my interest in this field.
I believe that my chances of succeeding in [insert field] would be greatly increased if I was to receive mentoring from someone as seasoned as yourself. The first-hand insight and knowledge I could garner from you would, I believe, make a huge impact on my life.
I understand that you have a lot on your plate, and I would be honored if you could find time in your busy schedule to accommodate my request.
If you are willing to speak further on this matter, I may be contacted at [insert contact information]. I am grateful for your consideration.
I noticed from your LinkedIn profile that you are a graduate of [insert university/college name] who majored in [insert degree name].
I will graduate in three months and would love to learn from someone who is actually specializing in this field.
If you have the time to mentor me, I would greatly appreciate it.
However, if you do not have the time, a few tips and advice on how to succeed in this field would be very much welcomed.
I have been a [insert job title] at [insert company name] for nearly 12 wonderful years now where I have met many wonderful people and gained a lot of knowledge, but it appears as though I have reached my maximum potential here.
A month ago, I was offered a role at [insert company name] as [insert job title] which is far beyond the scope of [insert previous job title]. To succeed in this role, I will need some insight and guidance.
I believe you could help in this regard since you have served in this position before and know the ins and outs of being a [insert job title].
I understand that this is not a small request and that you are a very busy man, but I would deeply appreciate it if you would serve as my mentor until I am capable of tackling this responsibility on my own.
If you agree to this, I am hoping to meet up with you to iron out all the details and to get started on this mentorship. I await your response.
I have admired your work from afar for quite some time and have been motivated by your story so much that I have retired from my job to start a new [insert type of business] business.
Your hard work and dedication are truly inspiring, and I was wondering if you would be willing to offer some advice on managing my new business over a cup of coffee.
If you’re interested, feel free to shoot me an email or call me at [insert phone number]. Thank you for your time.
As I am about to embark on this new journey of becoming a new business owner, it has become evident that it will not be an easy road.
Listening to your podcast/reading your blog posts has helped reassure me in certain aspects and made me more aware of the hardships that may come my way.
I have been given a good amount of advice from friends and family members; however, they have never been business owners and don’t fully understand what it takes.
Having someone like you to guide and mentor me would be a real game-changer since you have actually been through the process and have succeeded.
If you are willing to help, my number is [insert phone number]. I am looking forward to talking with you and learning all that I can.
Examples of How to Ask Someone to be Your Mentor in Specific Domains
If you are looking for a mentor for something in a specific domain such as sports, the performing arts, or even the culinary arts, your approach will have to be a bit different.
Here are 5 examples of how to ask someone to be your mentor in these situations.
I have been working since I was eight years old to hone my skills in [insert skill] to become a breakout star in the [insert industry name] industry, but it has proven quite difficult since many talents are vying for that same opportunity.
I know you have a full plate, but if you could spare at least 30 minutes to allow me to showcase my talent and prove to you that I would be a good mentee, it would mean the world to me.
Watching you perform is what inspired me to take [insert talent] seriously, and I have become quite good at it and have even earned myself [insert award/certificate/degree].
My problem, however, is that I don’t know what the next step is, since no one I know does professional [insert talent]. I was hoping that you could mentor me so that I can one day become as great a [insert talent] as you are.
If you could grant my request, I would like to propose a mentorship plan and figure out the best way to make it possible. Let me know what you think!
All my life, all I ever wanted to be was a [insert type of chef], and now that I have graduated culinary school, I am one step closer to achieving that goal.
While they teach you how to become a [insert type of chef] in school, they can never teach you how to be one of the best, and that is something I can only learn from someone who has been there and done it.
That person is you, and I would be forever grateful to you if you said yes to being my mentor.
My name is [insert your name], we met at [insert event/venue] and spoke briefly about [insert conversation highlights].
I regret that our conversation had to be cut short, but I gained some invaluable insight and would love to learn more from you.
Would you be available for a short 30-minute proposal on becoming my mentor? I would love to learn about how you got your start in this business and how you managed to evolve your career in such a short time.
I was born with a talent to play [insert name of sport], but there are many talented people in the game, and quite frankly, raw talent is not what will propel you to the top.
I aspire to be one of the greats like yourself, and to do that, I will need to learn what it takes to maneuver in this industry.
Learning will take time, and I am willing to go the extra mile to become the best athlete I can be.
If you would have me as your mentee, I promise to put in 110% effort in everything I do and to follow your advice to the T.
This cannot be a reality unless you agree to it. If you are hesitant or just interested in getting more information, I would like to set up a meeting where I can make my request in more detail and where you can communicate your concerns and decision.
I believe this would be an enriching and life-changing experience, and there is no one I’d rather have as my mentor than you.
The majority of knowing how to ask someone to be your mentor is being yourself and finding a genuine, respectful approach.
When someone sees that you are a willing student and is hungry to succeed, if they can, they will most likely say “yes”.