Looking for Guidance, Counselor?

By Ray Dreyfack

In Homer’s Iliad the hero Odysseus, before departing for war, entrusted the tutelage of his son Telemachus to trusted family friend Mentor (now you can’t say you never learned anything from SellingPower.com). But the practice of mentoring is not restricted to ancient tomes and fables. Today many of the country’s top athletes and business professionals admit that they never could have accomplished so much without the guidance and wisdom offered by others who encouraged them along their paths to success. In The Power To Be Your Best (Word Publishing, 1999), author Todd Duncan strongly recommends finding mentors who will volunteer to share the benefits of their experience with you as you ascend life’s thorny ladder. In seeking a mentor, Duncan suggests the following four tips.

1. Find someone you know and respect and who has achieved a level of success that offers a model for you. Get in touch with that person and ask for a sit-down meeting to discuss a specific issue.

2. If you don’t know anyone, work your contacts. Do you know someone who might know someone? Contact that person and try to set up a meeting with the referral.

3. Offer praise to a stranger who might be a mentor. If you know of someone whom you would like to engage as a mentor, call and offer congratulations on what that person is involved with. Then ask if the two of you could get together over coffee so you can learn more about the person. As the old saw has it, Flattery will get you everywhere. This person then may voluntarily become a mentor and friend to you.

4. Put a mentor on your personal payroll. Many organizations today specialize in the mentoring and coaching business. Find such an organization and discuss with them the possibility of engaging someone as a coach who has expertise in the area you’re interested in pursuing.