Mentors are trusted counselors or guides according to Merriam-Webster dictionary. Mentors are usually people who have volunteered their time, knowledge, experience, and expertise by providing individuals with advice and guidance in a specific field. Many of us would not be where we are today without some form of mentor whether it be a teacher in school, a superior at our job, or someone providing us with support, education, and direction.
When entering a new field, industry, or career, how does one find a mentor? Read on to get 5 key tips for finding a mentor and beginning your next journey.
5 Key Tips To Find A Mentor:
1. Figure Out Your Needs & Wants. Chrissy Barth, MS, RD, BHT, RYT, Mentor Program Coordinator with Nutrition Entrepreneurs Dietetic Practice Group and Founder and CEO of Live.Breathe.Nutrition., LLC, explains the mentee should be precise in what he/she needs assistance with so that the mentee can be matched up with a mentor that best fits him/her. Defining what your goals are is important to determine the direction you want to take. It also saves time with the mentor so you are prepared and ask the right questions.
2. Do Your Homework. Research people currently in the industry/field you’d like to enter. Find people you admire. Review their websites and profiles and see what they are doing. Doing your homework on the person is important in order to ask the right questions when contacting them.
3. Offer Your Services. When I first met my mentor, Manuel Villacorta, owner/founder of MV Nutrition & Eating Free, an online adult weight management program, I told him I would volunteer my time in order to learn about private practice. I gave back while gaining knowledge in the process. It was a win-win opportunity.
4. Know The Difference Between A Mentor & A Coach. Barth emphasizes the importance of knowing the difference between the two. A coach is someone who actually instructs, trains, and acts like a tutor. Mentors are meant for guidance. Jean Caton, MS, MBA, RD, a speaker, business and lifestyle coach, marketing strategist, and owner of McKinley Coaching and Consulting L.L.C., recommends in her article, “Mentor Me!,” to spend no more than three months with a mentor. The three months can consist of weekly meetings. This way one does not outgrow or abuse the mentor/mentee relationship.
5. Join Nutrition Entrepreneurs & Sign Up To “Find A Mentor.” Whether you are looking to find a mentor in coaching, private practice, writing/authors, corporate wellness, speaking or more, Nutrition Entrepreneurs will connect mentees with mentors and vice versa to best fit your needs, goals, and career dreams. Click HERE to join and sign-up to find a mentor.
OR Join/Volunteer in Local Professional Organizations. Caton advises in her article, “Mentor Me!,” to consider joining professional organizations both within and outside of your industry and even consider working long distance via phone or Skype.
You Can Be A Mentor, Too! If you have expertise in a specific area, offer your services to others as a mentor. Giving back is gaining in the process. Barth, who has a successful private practice, still remembers her mentor about 9 years ago when she first became a Registered Dietitian. “My mentor gave me instrumental advice encouraging me to integrate the qualities of those RDs that I admired yet to maintain my uniqueness in the process,” describes Barth. So you can give back, too, by helping others along the way.
Who is your ideal mentor? Contact them today and take your career to the next level.
Sarah Koszyk is the founder of Family. Food. Fiesta. A family-based wellness program and blog. She is also a Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Coach at Eating Free, an online adult weight management program. She provides in-person nutrition coaching at a private practice, MV Nutrition, in San Francisco, CA, where she specializes in sports nutrition and adult and pediatric weight management. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.