Tips for finding a mentor when you’re changing industries

For almost a decade, I’ve been a mentor to different professionals in want of steering however, personally, I didn’t have a formal mentorship for a number of years. Part of the explanation was I discovered it troublesome to search out a becoming mentor I may develop a fruitful relationship with.

The expertise launched me to the intricate course of it takes to forge a reference to a new mentor. And as profession coach, I’m continually watching my govt shoppers battle with the identical course of.

Below are 4 methods to search out and collaborate with mentors who may also help elevate your profession and (notably in case your attempting to vary industries) may also help you attain your objectives. I turned to those tricks to carve out alternatives for myself, in addition to to steer my govt shoppers to their subsequent skilled goal.


Leverage micro-mentoring moments

If you’re a self-starter, you’re most likely aware of the method of blazing your individual path. I likewise know this course of. This meant that I typically discovered myself in unfamiliar territory, needing to determine areas that have been outdoors of my wheelhouse. The state of affairs created frequent alternatives to hunt what I name “micro-mentoring” moments—or casual touchpoints with individuals who possessed the experience in particular niches that I lacked.

For instance, if you’re creating a program that features a giant part targeted on folks, it would make sense to succeed in out to trade consultants who lead packages comparable in scope to yours. You can attain out to HR professionals to ask for their finest practices and insights round matters like payroll prices, hiring traits, and expertise growth.

Taking benefit of micro-mentoring requires setting your ego apart and acknowledging that you simply don’t know one thing. It takes believing you possibly can be taught from everybody you meet and asking them to share their data with you. If you utilize this method, you’ll have the ability to take up micro-mentoring moments wherever you go.

Think of your connections as reciprocal

From the very begin, it isn’t at all times doable to start with a conventional mentoring relationship, whereby you’re mentored by a extra tenured or skilled individual in your trade. If you don’t have this chance simply but, attempt trying a bit nearer to dwelling. You can begin your mentorship journey by reciprocal mentoring with a peer, which may also help construct an efficient connection and supply an accountability accomplice to one another’s success.


While receiving and giving mentorship with a peer means your mentor can be on the identical degree or share comparable expertise, it’s nonetheless a nice approach to obtain skilled insights and observations from somebody you belief.

In my very own expertise, I tapped into a reciprocal peer-mentoring relationship at work for a number of years as a mid-level chief and early govt. Over these years, my peer mentor and I helped one another develop in core areas in our careers, whereas persistently supporting one another. I helped him establish and perceive office politics, whereas he taught me how one can do deeper monetary evaluation and projections for my price range and enterprise circumstances, assuaging very actual struggles with Microsoft Excel.

Clarify what kind of steering you’re searching for

I as soon as initiated a mentor-mentee relationship with a senior member of my firm’s govt staff. Of all of the execs on the time, I felt closest to her and believed that our values have been most intently aligned. We had labored on a number of tasks collectively, and I admired how her method with shoppers and stakeholders felt uncontrived and reliable, which created ease in everybody round her.

But when we met to discover a mentoring relationship, it felt disjointed. Our conversations have been awkward; we each felt one thing wasn’t flowing. I later realized that the disconnect wasn’t nearly communication kinds, however that I fell brief on bringing readability to the connection, together with what I needed from her mentorship. A wholesome mentoring relationship is one wherein the mentee has clear objectives recognized for help, and feels stable about a chosen profession path, no less than within the close to time period.


There are a number of profession milestones that mostly warrant a mentoring relationship. When you could have been promoted and really feel like it’s a massive stretch in duty for you, an appropriately refined mentor is a true profit. If you could have acquired suggestions which you can enhance considered one of your expertise or job capabilities, a focused mentor with mastery in these areas can invigorate your development. Should you arrive at a level in your profession the place you suppose you’re at a crossroads along with your present group however should not completely clear, a seasoned exterior (or trusted inner) mentor’s perspective may also help you get clear on what is absolutely necessary about the next step.

Create a mentorship “wish list”

To assist achieve readability into what your particular mentoring wants are and what your splendid mentor would carry to the desk, it’s useful to listing some key factors about what you hope their profile and background would appear like—or a “wish list,” if you’ll. For instance, when I did this train, I appeared for mentor alignment on the next sides:

  • Self-describes as an entrepreneur with no less than a dozen staff of a worthwhile, rising startup.
  • Understands what it feels prefer to danger their very own cash, stability, and relationships to construct a enterprise.
  • Bootstrapped their enterprise.
  • Feels personally tied to the mission of a enterprise as a result of it’s making the world a higher place.
  • Enjoy sharing expertise and data in an open method.

To achieve additional perception to what I needed in a mentor, I additionally wrote down key info about my very own private {and professional} previous, which can affect the mentorship. Afterward, I described the primary three years of development of my enterprise, detailing my service choices, contractors, and financials. I additionally shared my enterprise philosophies and private truths.

While taking the time to articulate all of this will seem to be a lot of labor, it pays off by serving to you perceive precisely why you need a mentor, what kind of mentor you search, and what are the final word advantages of constructing a new reference to a mentor.

Tegan Trovato is the founding father of Bright Arrow, an govt and staff teaching agency. She has served as an govt or management staff member for Levi Strauss, Xerox, Zynga, and Cielo.

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