Having a mentor can make it much easier to be successful in work or in life. Knowing how to pick out a mentor can help you make the most of that helpful relationship. Here are some important qualities to look for in an advisor, and a step-by-step guide to finding the right one for you.

Traits to Look for In a Mentor:

1. Focus on integrity. Look for someone whom you consider to be a wise role model. You want an advisor who shares your core values. They don’t have to be rich and popular- anyone you respect and regard may be a perfect coach for you.

2. Seek a mentor with applicable experience. Career growth may be the first thing that comes to mind, but mentors can help in any area including relationship issues or investment guidance. Look for someone with the appropriate background, expertise, and contacts.

3. Find someone with complementary strengths. Look for someone who can help you in areas where you feel that you need further development. For example, if you’re concerned about your presentation skills, you may want to seek out people who are popular speakers in your niche.

4. Look for a good listener. A mentor is a facilitator and a sounding board. Ideally, they’ll enable you to cultivate your own wisdom and develop your own personal solutions.

Step-by-Step Guide to Finding the Right Mentor For You:

1. Start with people you know. The right advisor might be in your network right now. If you have colleagues and acquaintances that you respect and want to emulate, they could possibly be ideal candidates.

2. Think outside outside your circle. To find someone with the right background and qualifications, you may need to go beyond your current network. Online tools such as LinkedIn or local chapters of trade associations can be great resources for finding accomplished individuals in any industry.

3. Ask for help. If you feel shy about doing asking somebody to mentor you, bear in mind your potential advisor might feel flattered that you value his or her wisdom and qualifications. If you’re approaching a mentor you don’t already know personally, you can send a letter of introduction summarizing your request and asking for a brief meeting to talk it over.

4. Get references. If you opt to work with a paid mentor or coach, examine their references first to evaluate their services. Ask other clients if they have been satisfied with the return on their investment.

5. Talk about your goals. Start off by talking about your ambitions with your mentor. If you choose to work together, you’ll want to identify measureable goals along with an evaluation plan and agenda so you can monitor your progress. An initial conversation can determine if your prospective mentor is really in a situation to provide the kind of support you need.

6. Speak consistently and often. Be sure you and your advisor both understand your mutual expectations concerning the amount of time you plan to invest in this relationship. If it matters to you, specify your desire for in-person meetings in addition to any virtual meetings. Find out if you’ll be working with your selected mentor directly or an associate.

7. Thank your mentor. Even if your mentor works with you on a paid basis, remember to voice your gratitude for his or her generosity. Tell them that you appreciate them. Thank everyone who aids you in your search for an advisor. This may be a process you will repeat throughout your life, so cherish these relationships.

Working with an mentor provides you the opportunity to learn from their experience and expertise. Consider your mentors wisely, and you are likely to be one step closer to obtaining everything you want in your career and your life.