By Kawania H. Wooten CMP

Are you new to the industry and interested in asking someone to mentor you? Pretty smart idea! It’s a key step to take as you build your network and grow in your career.  But, asking someone to be your mentor requires a little more groundwork than you might think, so we have listed below 8 tips for asking someone to mentor.

1. Determine What You Want from a Mentor. Before you reach out to a potential mentor, review your personal and business goals first. Write down the areas where you want to grow or improve and determine the role you want your mentor to play in your growth. Knowing your needs and goals beforehand will help you determine who would be the best fit for you and your business.

2. Do Your Homework. Now that you have an understanding of what you need from a mentor, research potential mentor options to determine who has the experience you need or the connections you desire. Follow them on social media, study their business model, and get a good sense of their background and what they are up to currently.

3. Find a Common Ground. Don’t reach out to a complete stranger and ask him or her to mentor you! Try seeking out ways to let the relationship develop genuinely. If you don’t know the potential mentor, ask a mutual friend or colleague to introduce you. If you don’t have a mutual connection, reach out to the person, but don’t ask to be mentored! Instead, let the potential mentor know that you admire his or her work (or you heard him or her speak recently), and you would love 15 minutes of their time because you are interested in hearing more about his or her career path. Most people will grant a 15-minute chat over coffee.

4. Avoid Asking Via E-Mail or Text. I know, I know, I sound like an old lady, but trust me on this one. You stand a better chance of someone saying yes, if you give them a call. After your call, follow up with an e-mail to confirm your conversation. (I hope this goes without saying, but don’t ask someone to be your mentor on social media)

5. Be Clear About What You Want. I am blown away by the number of people who say to me, “I need know everything!” I realize that owning your own business is daunting, but that’s a tall order for someone to fill — especially if they aren’t getting paid for their time. Be clear and specific in your needs.

6. Be Gracious If The Answer is “No.” Many executives are quite busy, so there is a chance that someone could say “no” to your request. Don’t take it personally. Be gracious and thank them for their time.

7. Acknowledge and Honor the Person’s Time. If a potential mentor replies to your request with some date and time options for a meeting or a phone call, think twice before you reply noting that none of those times work for you. S/he is doing you a favor; so don’t make the person work for you. And, be on time for the meeting.

8. Follow Up. After you meet with the mentor, send an email within 24 hours to say thanks for his or her time. You can also use this time to recap the resources you discussed and the next steps. As time goes on, let the mentor know how s/he helped you personally and/or professionally.


Kawania Wooten is the principal consultant at Howerton+Wooten Events, LLC.  Known to her friends and family as Kay, she uses artistic skills, her keen attention to the smallest details and her strong commitment to customer service as the hallmark of her business.  As the founder of the company, Kawania strives for professionalism, creativity and impeccable organization within every function planned by Howerton+Wooten Events.