5 Steps for Interviewing a Mentor Candidate

Want to get a mentor but not sure how to begin?  You may have heard many times that having a mentor or personal coach is a strategy for success.  It doesn’t even matter what area you’d like help in; Coaches and mentors can be found for nearly any subject.


How to Begin

The first step is to choose who could be your mentor.  Look for people who are getting results you’d like to get. The results you seek could apply to your career, financial management, relationships, spirituality, health, or something else.

Make a list of a number of people you can reach out to, because your first choice may not be available or interested in mentoring.

Here is an example of a conversation you can have with someone you’d like to consider as a mentor.  In it, you’ll be explaining what you are looking for and interviewing her for both her interest and her mentoring style.  After this conversation, the two of you should be able to come to a decision… move forward with the mentoring relationship or don’t.


1st Step: Schedule a call with him or her.

Reach out and let her know you want to better understand her position and seek her advice.  Be empathetic to the fact that she is probably busy.  Make sure she understands you value her time.

2nd Step:  Before the call, prepare a list of questions you have and a challenge or two you are facing.

3rd Step:  On the call, initiate the conversation.

Don’t beat around the bush.  Get straight to the point.  Let her know why you are calling, and ask for her permission to ask questions. Once you have permission, use the list you prepared.

Some good starting questions would be:

“Do you currently mentor anyone?”

“Are you open to the idea of mentoring someone?” (or someone else – depending on the answer to the first question)


4th Step:  Be upfront.

Let her know that you called to discuss the possibility of her mentoring you.  It’s good to just be straight with her, because if it is not something she is willing to consider, then you can end the call quickly and not waste any more of her or your time.

If she is open to the idea, ask if you can ask a few more questions.  Once you have permission, move on to the mentor interviewing process.  The questions should help you determine if she’d be a good fit for you.

Helpful questions for this process include:

“If I were to mentor with you, what would your expectations of me be?”  Once you have this answer, you can decide if the expectations are things you’d be willing to do.

“Is it okay if I share with you a challenge I am dealing with and get some advice from you?”  If she says yes, share a challenge of yours.  Once she has shared some advice regarding that challenge, you’ll be able to determine whether or not you resonate with what she had to say and if desire future conversations.

If you do want to pursue a mentoring relationship, ask, “Would you be willing to have a call or meet with me once or twice a month so I can pick your brain and seek advice?”

If yes, schedule the next call or meeting.  If she asks about a fee, share what you are willing to offer… monetary payment, time to assist her with her work similar to an intern or apprentice, or some other form of labor that she may find useful such as walking her dog, washing her car, etc.

5th Step:  Be confident and persistent

Sometimes someone you want to mentor you has others who want the same thing, and it is impossible for him or her to say yes to everyone. So that person may test your determination in order to deem you worthy of his time.  Sometimes, he is just really busy and you are low on his priority list.  Sorry if that hurts your feelings, but it is a truth you must face.

The point is to be persistent. Have the confidence to pursue the mentoring relationship, and if it doesn’t pan out the first time you try, reach out again.  That doesn’t mean to stalk him or be a nuisance at inappropriate times.  For example, don’t show up at a lunch meeting he is having and interrupt.

I suggest you politely reach out once in a while and ask for a call or invite him to have coffee.  Years ago, when my husband Josh asked the most successful sales rep in his company for some time, he didn’t receive a call back.  He called again.  And again.  It was after about twenty messages over the course of six months that the man decided he was displaying a high commitment level and returned his call.  The two men have been friends and colleagues ever since.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below or go to Ask Amiee.  

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