When asking someone to be a mentor, timing and how you ask are both important issues to consider. You have to lay the groundwork and be clear about the amount of time you are asking the person to invest in you.
You first need to consider what specific development you need: personal development or professional development?
Once you've decided upon the person you would like to ask to be your mentor, engage with them prior to asking so that you get to know a little bit more about one another. The easiest way to do this is to contact them and ask if they would be willing to chat with you about how they developed their career. You may say that you want to follow a similar career path or you want to learn how to be successful.
Having this conversation or perhaps several conversations will allow both of you to develop a comfort level with each other so that when you ask the person to be your mentor, they will be more likely to say yes.
So how do you ask someone to be your mentor?
When asking, consider this short model as a guide:
Dear (future mentor),
I have really enjoyed our recent conversations together. They have provided me with a lot of insight. I would like to continue to speak on a more regular basis and I was wondering whether you would consider being my mentor.
Perhaps we could meet once a month for an hour. I will plan a short agenda with specific topics to discuss for each meeting. We could speak on the telephone or meet face to face, whichever is more convenient for you.
Thanks again for your consideration and your time. I know it is valuable!
Asking a person to consider avoids their need to respond yes or no immediately––which makes it more likely they may say yes. Also, clearly stating the time commitment you are requesting is important. After all, timing is an important issue to consider. Not only WHEN to ask someone to be your mentor, but HOW MUCH time you are asking them to invest in you.
Good luck with your mentoring endeavors! We have some great resources below which can help you to get the most out of your mentoring relationship (and they are free!).
Isabel Poulin | Dreamstime.com