How to find the right mentor to support your career success

Oct 6, 2022

Have you thought about finding a mentor to support your career?

There are many advantages to having the guidance of someone who’s walked the same career path, is a few steps ahead and where you aspire to be.

This person can act as a sounding board, bounce ideas round and share their wisdom as you work towards the next phase of your career.

But what skills and attributes should you look for in a mentor? And how do you approach them to form a relationship or ask them to mentor you?

These are real questions from people in my audience. In fact, one of the most common questions I’m asked about in every corporate training session I run is how to find a mentor. So today, I’m sharing all the secrets!

Here are 4 steps to help you find the right mentor and grow your career.


The first step is to start with your intention. What are the reasons you’re looking for a mentor? What are your goals and objectives?

Consider your career goals, development areas and how you’d like a mentor to support those. And remember, it will be an investment of your time as well as theirs, so knowing your ‘why’ is the most critical first step. When you are intentional, you will identify the best mentor for you.


Next, get clear on exactly what you’re looking for in a mentor. Consider their professional background, expertise and career journey. Think about their leadership style and any personal qualities or attributes which are important to you.

Ask yourself: What are you looking to get out of this relationship? This will help you determine the specific criteria you want in a mentor.

Because when you know what you’re looking for, you will find the right mentor.


The third step is to identify some potential mentors. Someone in a recent training session mentioned they’d used an internal mentoring program — and it didn’t work out. This is why I recommend you be selective and directly seek out mentors who meet your specific criteria and goals.

And while mentoring programs are a great place to start, I also encourage you to look for mentors within your existing network. You can also ask friends and colleagues if they know anyone who fits the profile. When you are proactive about searching for people who satisfy your criteria, you will be successful in finding the right mentor for you.


Once you’ve identified a potential mentor, reach out to them to arrange a career conversation. Approach them on the basis you admire their career trajectory, aspire to end up in a similar position and would love to get their insights and advice. People love talking about themselves and are always happy to help!

Make the effort to stay in touch and nurture this relationship over time, as you would with anyone in your network. Then when it feels right, you could approach the subject of formalising the mentor-mentee relationship. But often, we end up developing more informal mentors — this has been the case for me.

When you invest the time in building a strong relationship, you will naturally discover the right mentor.

So there you have it. The 4 steps I recommend for finding the right mentor and starting to develop a relationship with them. If you’ve considered looking for a mentor, start putting these steps into practice in your career!

Want further support to make the right career decisions and clarify what success looks like to you?

Listen to this FREE audio training and in 15 minutes, I’ll give you all the tools and strategies you need to get started! Get instant access.

Stacey Back is a Career Strategist, Leadership Coach + Founder of Profile Careers. She helps high-achievers at a career crossroads find the work that lights them up, increase their income, impact and create a career + life on their terms. Stacey works virtually with individuals and organisations based across the globe.