How to Find a Mentor to Help You Go Further, Faster

I mentored eight young men for three years. It was incredibly rewarding, and I wrote about it several times (see here and here).

How to Find a Mentor to Help You Go Further, Faster

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/franckreporter

As a result, nearly every week someone e-mails to ask, “Would you consider mentoring me?”

Unfortunately, I have to decline. I am taking this year off in order to focus on other priorities. But even if I were actively mentoring, my bandwidth would soon be exhausted.

Most people understand this and then ask, “Okay, so how do I find someone else to mentor me?”

Good question. But to be brutally honest, their chances of finding a mentor are slim.

The problem is their definition of mentorship. It’s too narrow. Let me explain.

When most people use the term mentor, they mean a one-on-one coaching relationship with someone older and more experienced.

It might be informal (someone who can advise them ad hoc) or formal (someone who is willing to meet with them on a regular basis). Regardless, the demand exceeds the available supply.

Fortunately, organizations like Radical Mentoring are working on training more mentors. But it’s a slow process. We simply don’t have enough mature men and women willing or able to make the investment.

So, what do you do if you are trying to find a mentor?

I suggest you broaden your definition of mentoring, so you don’t get stuck waiting for something that might not happen.

The truth is you can be mentored now if you understand the eight levels of mentoring:

  1. Blogs and podcasts. If you could wave a magic wand and be mentored by anyone, who would it be? John Maxwell, Seth Godin, Dave Ramsey or someone else? Chances are they have a blog or podcast and are already churning out a tons of content—for free. Are you taking advantage of it?

  2. Books. There’s no greater value than a relevant, well-written book. For less than $20, you can get someone’s best thinking on a specific topic. Never before in history has so much knowledge been available to so many, for so little. And if you don’t have the money to buy a book, go to the library.

  3. Courses. I’ve spent hundreds of hours with Tony Robbins, Brendon Burchard, David Allen, and numerous others. Not personally, of course, but by taking their courses. This is the next level up from reading a book. The instruction is more in-depth and, as a result, more likely to actually transform my behavior.

  4. Conferences. When possible, I prefer live instruction. It provides an opportunity for total immersion, focused learning, and interaction with other students. It occasionally provides direct access to the instructor(s). I make it a priority to attend three to four conferences a year as a student.

  5. Masterminds. I didn’t start hearing about these until a few years ago. Now they are all the rage. They are actually a very old idea. Benjamin Franklin, for example, had one. It’s a wonderful opportunity for peer mentoring. My friend Dan Miller has a great audio and PDF on how to create one.

  6. Membership Sites. This can be a wonderful hybrid of input from specific mentors plus the input of fellow members. For many people this is the perfect combination. That’s what I do, for example, at Platform University. There’s a monthly fee attached, but it is nominal and enables us to bring high-quality content to our members.

  7. Coaches. If you are willing to pay for a mentor, a coach is a great option. I employed one for more than a decade. While you may think you can’t afford one, I would challenge you to investigate it before dismissing it. If a coach helps you seize one opportunity, optimize your productivity, or avoid one fatal mistake, it will pay for itself many times over. I recommend Building Champions.

  8. Mentors. Though a true mentor may be difficult to find, it’s not impossible. If you have one in mind, start by building the relationship—just like you would anyone else. Don’t lead with “Will you be my mentor?” (That’s like asking someone to marry you on the first date.) Instead, get to know them. Look for opportunities to be generous. Start small and see where it goes.

Jesus said, “He who is faithful in little is faithful also in much” (Luke 16:10). Until you have taken advantage of the lower mentoring levels, you probably won’t gain access to the higher ones. Even if you do eventually find a mentor, you’re cheating yourself by not doing what you can now to learn and grow.

Instead of focusing on what you don’t have—a one-on-one, traditional mentoring relationship—focus on what you do have: more opportunities than ever before in history to learn and grow. If you simply expand your definition, you will find there are mentoring opportunities everywhere.

Question: What mentoring opportunities do you have now that you haven’t taken advantage of? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • http://www.hookang.com/ Hoo Kang

    Michael,

    I would love to have you as a mentor.

    Thank you for providing alternatives and approaching mentorship.

    I already do a lot of the things that you recommend, minus the masterminds.

    Perhaps a follow up post to this one is what would be a “cheat sheet” into providing ways to connect on a deeper level with someone at your caliber.

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      You and me both Hoo – I want Michael to write a post about “folding space and time” so that he could find a way to be all of our personal mentors ;-)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for the suggestion.

  • http://www.ericdingler.com/ Eric Dingler

    I live in an extremely rural area in Ohio at the summer camp I lead. The first four are fantastic suggestions. It’s a good reminder I need to be even more intentional with the “input” I choose. I’d like to add one suggestion to the list. Membership sites. For example, Platform University. It’s content and forum is a treasure trove of mentoring level wisdom and guidance.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      How did I miss that one? Excellent!

      • http://www.ericdingler.com/ Eric Dingler

        Because you are more focused on helping us with your blogging then promoting your own self-interest. I admire that.

        • http://www.alansalls.com/ Alan Salls

          Here here! :)

      • http://www.nathanmagnuson.com/ Nathan Magnuson

        How about supervisors? Any supervisor who gives any feedback/input/guidance (esp. beyond what is specific to the role) is definitely providing a mentoring benefit!

  • http://sparkvoice.wordpress.com/ DS

    As a male I see tremendous need for willing and able mentors. It’s something I’ve been back and forth on in a lot of directions – serving as a mentor to younger men, and being a student of older men. Your perspective and experience with this topic is always encouraging.

    The audio version of your post is a nice addition.

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      DS – I couldn’t agree more! I think a lot of young men lack strong, POSITIVE male role models in their lives, which results in them limping along without purpose and direction. It’s a critical need for sure.

  • Tim Cool

    Great suggestion Eric…I would expand on that to include membership organizations. For example, I work in the church space….leading churches in their property development, so I get to hang with a lot of great people in full time vocational ministry. Many of the top leaders of our generation are members of “tribes”. Organizations like Exponential, Association of Related Churches, Acts 29, Catalyst, Leadership Network, etc. Most of these have low or no membership fees, but the resources, alignment, support and connections are priceless. There are similar organizations in the business world as well.

    Thanks Michael for all you do.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Tim. Great suggestions.

  • Cstreck

    Michael, isn’t the follow up to this a challenge to the older generation to step up and consider mentoring. If mentoring is so vital to young men (and women) then shouldn’t we challenge the supply to meet the demand?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I have written on this before here. It’s probably time to write on it again. Thanks.

      • Cstreck

        Thanks for the link! I completed radical mentoring a few years ago and look forward to finding my group of young leaders one day.

  • http://thejoshcollins.com/ Josh Collins

    Great post, and indeed thank you for your mentorship! I have written numerous times referring to my mentors, like yourself and a few others, even though they aren’t aware they’re mentoring me.

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      I can totally relate Josh – I’m also a remote “mentee” of Michael’s as well as Jack Canfield, Janet Switzer, Dan Miller and Malcolm Gladwell (to name a few).

      I think one of the benefits of having a variety of remote mentors is that you will never be at a loss for new information – and you won’t “suck” everything out of a single individual mentor.

  • Laurel Griffith

    Michael,
    Although I never met either of my teachers personally, Dallas Willard and Richard Foster mentored me for many years. I have read and reread their books and am a different person because they took the time to share with people like me. I want to do the same thing for others. It’s the beautiful thing about mentoring. When it’s done right, growth continues. The student becomes the teacher and the message spreads. Thank you for helping me learn how to build a platform so I can become a mentor to others.

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Laurel,
      What book(s) would you recommend from both Dallas and Richard for someone who hasn’t read them in the past? Just curious…

      • Laurel Griffith

        Hearing God by Willard. Celebration of Discipline and Prayer by Richard Foster. Great reading!

        • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

          Awesome – thanks!

  • Sangita

    Much Gratitude for sharing your wisdom and resources that helped you. I love the Building Champions tools.

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Sangita,
      I’m considering participating in the Building Champions program – they have a wide array of offerings. Which did you find most beneficial/useful?

  • dmehrle

    When it comes to mentoring and books Wayne Corrdeiro has a book called The Divine Mentor that is all about how to read the Bible and see the individuals in scripture as mentors. It’s a great read!

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Thanks for the recommendation – I’ll check that out!

  • http://dreamjobprogram.com/ Drew Tewell

    As @ecdingler:disqus mentioned, I have been learning as well lately from membership sites (Platform University & Tribe Writers). Thanks for sharing, Michael! PS, I like the idea of the audio version of your post. What made you choose SoundCloud?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I saw John Saddington using it. It provides a simple embedded player that I can copy and paste the entire thing in a few keystrokes.

  • http://www.davebratcher.com/ Dave Bratcher

    One of the main areas I have missed the opportunity is through my local church. We have a program for mentoring youth, but my schedule hasn’t allowed me to participate. Have you used any specific type of structure? I am very excited about a mastermind group, which I am starting mid-summer. Any suggestions from ones you have participated in?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes. Click on the links in the first paragraph and you will see the structure. Thanks.

  • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

    I have hundreds of mentors: you can see who some of them are on my bloglinks page at http://www.danerickson.net. It’s under “my picks.” But I also use books, teachers, friends, family, and God as my mentors. I’m sure their are other mentorship options that I haven’t used. Having limited time and finances, I tend to shy away from mentors that either charge a price, or ask for long periods of my time. As a writer, my mentors are other great writers that I read.

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Dan, I like the idea of having a wide array of virtual mentors – it exposes me to a vast selection of learning/insights. Have you every considered summary.com? It offers 6-page summaries of the 30 best business books published each year. It’s a great time saver that distills the content to a meaningful, digestible format.

      • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

        I hadn’t heard of summary.com until now. Thanks for sharing. I’ll have to check it out.

  • http://JonDHarrison.com/ Jonathan Harrison

    This is perfect. I wish I would have this broader definition of mentorship 10 years ago.

    When you and I met in Boca Raton, I remember telling you that almost everything I could want from a mentorship with you was available though your blog and podcasts. Better still, I can access these resources 24/7 (as opposed to a 2 am phone call) and I can slow down and reread/relisten to lessons (rather than ask for the 23rd time “can you repeat that story about that one time that you broke your foot and started blogging?”), and your level of engagement with your tribe is so inspiring.

    Now I “crowd source” my mentors, with Maxwell, Ramsey, Lencioni, Godin, Stanley, Allen, LoCurto, and Tracy…just to name a few!

    And just to echo what others are saying, the audio version of the post is really a great feature!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Jonathan. I appreciate this. You are demonstrating exactly what I am talking about.

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Jon, I love that turn-of-phrase “crowd source mentor” – I’m going to steal that…um, er…I mean borrow that from you!

      • http://JonDHarrison.com/ Jonathan Harrison

        I would be honored. Unless it is the title of your next book. Then I will need a mention in the first few pages or so.

  • http://quantiple.com/ Steve Tonkin

    My fear is that this approach dilutes the definition of mentoring. While the point of your blog rightfully describes the problem of a lack of mentors, I think it could be dangerous to replace true mentoring that requires relationship with techniques of gaining more knowledge. Mentoring assumes the passing of wisdom. Even though wise mentors may be hard to find, there is a danger of mistaking knowledge for it.

    I simply offer encouragement to those seeking a mentor not to give up their pursuit of one in the hope that more knowledge will ultimately replace one.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      This is a fair point. I just didn’t want people to use their inability to find a mentor quickly to become an excuse for not pursuing growth now. Again, I go back to Luke 16:10. Focus on the opportunities you have. Use them while continuing to seek a more formal relationship. Thanks.

      • http://quantiple.com/ Steve Tonkin

        There is certainly a balance. I also fear the research findings related to social media and other online activities appear to be contributing to feelings of isolation (mainly from the field of suicide prevention). We all must be vigilant to have people in our lives, ideally in mentoring relationships.

  • deandeguara

    I would have to say Membership Sites! Platform University has been the best mentoring decision I’ve made bar none.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Dean. Several people made this point, so I have added it to the list in the post. I now officially have eight levels of mentoring!

      • deandeguara

        Awesome! I would have to say Forums could be a ninth level! Modern day mentoring is cultivated in the context of a connected community and Platform University provides several avenues for a person to do so. I know I’m one of many members, but I feel like part of the family and that I have a personal connection with you and every person that provides content.

  • http://www.workyouenjoy.com/ Adam Rico

    This is great Michael. It seems that within the mentoring relationship the person being mentored is getting the bulk of the benefit. What are some of the benefits for the mentor?

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      I don’t mean to step in here Adam, but when I’ve had the opportunity to mentor here are a few of the personal benefits I’ve received:

      1. The ability to crystallize my own thinking on the topics of discussion and articulate abstract concepts I had only internalized until that point;

      2. By instructing and facilitating mentoring discussions, I’ve learned a lot from those I’ve mentored – the best mentoring relationships are bi-directional and mutually beneficial. It’s not a one-way exchange;

      3. There’s a sense of satisfaction that’s difficult to explain when you see someone have an “aha moment” – kind of like a former teacher watching a student graduate. That’s very gratifying.

      Those are just a few of the things I’ve noticed from my limited mentoring experiences…

      • http://JonDHarrison.com/ Jonathan Harrison

        Tor’s on the mark with these comments. I would also like to point out that is never too early to start mentoring others.

      • http://www.workyouenjoy.com/ Adam Rico

        Thanks so much for your reply Tor. This is great. I love that you said it’s bi-directional. I have a real hard time only taking without giving, so that helps me to think of it that way. We’re all in this together…

  • http://www.lawrencewilson.com/p/about-me.html Lawrence W. Wilson

    In answer to your question, peers. I’m growing in this, but in the past I’ve missed a number of great opportunities to learn from people near me who do what I do (pastors).

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      I think we’ve all failed to maximize those types of opportunities for a variety of reasons. One of the big hinderances to my own development early in my career was immaturity – I thought I knew it all. Thankfully, that part of my personality “died” pretty quickly following a couple colossal failures on my part.

  • http://lukeroland.com/ Luke Roland

    Thanks for sharing this post. I just moved to a new location and some of the mentors I had that I met one on one with are not as accessible because of geography. I’ve now really turned to reading blogs and more books to mentor me, and I hope to be able to tap into courses and conferences next.

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Luke, that’s a great point – sometimes life forces us to physically move away from our professional support network. Thankfully, I’ve been able to stay in touch with those who mean the most to me professionally via a variety of channels such as LinkedIn.

      • http://lukeroland.com/ Luke Roland

        Social Media has really changed mentoring relationships in a good way! I used to be opposed to have a mentoring relationship that wasn’t face to face, but now I realize I’ve been mentored by many people and I didn’t even know it!

  • http://lisadelay.com/blog Lisa Colon DeLay

    For me, I have a spiritual director (SD) as a mentor, formally (a contract, confidentially, regularity, and everything).

    (and “director” is a misnomer…but the primary term that stuck over the last 2,000 years or so. “Companion” is closer to the reality of it, but doesn’t sound as potent). Also- SD not counseling/therapeutic treatment, which is another assumption people can make.)

    Once per month, for about an hour, a grandmother (who trained for 2 years in spiritual direction) who’s wise and gracious acts as a guide, and helps me listen and see better. She brings clarity as she helps me see God at work in all things. The perspective is invaluable and keeps me centered in all the aspects of life–integrating it all so different spheres (work, parenting, ministry, social) don’t stay silos but converge. That way, it can be “well with my soul”.

    She accepts a donation $20-40 as I am able, and she deserves much more. (Most directors don’t cost too much and some ministries or churches help fund direction.)

    Would that I could have known about and done this 10 years ago! Once you have a good fit with a director, you get hooked on the advantage! It’s incomparable to other experiences I’ve had…and rich with blessing.

    I also provide direction/holy listening (one-on-one) and serve as a guide on personal and group retreats (and I’m trained with an M.A. in Spiritual Formation).

    A robust list for directors (internationally) is here: http://sdiworld.org

  • Carlos Martinez Moreira

    Thank you Michael. I have a question, what’s the difference between mentoring and coaching?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I think they are often synonymous. More and more, I see coaching as paid mentoring. What do you think?

  • Edwina Cowgill

    Michael,
    Thanks for the suggestions! I’ve read almost all of John Maxwell’s book, attended Chick-Fil-A Leadercast this year and already have plans to attend next year, and now you’ve given me a couple of new ideas that I’ll be researchig later today.
    Blessings,
    Edwina Cowgill

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      That’s a great plan Edwina – you’re making your mentorship strategy a reality by associating it with S.M.A.R.T. goals!

  • mlchaplin

    One of the best pieces of advice I got from a college professor is this: You don’t need a mentor, you need mentors. Having multiple mentors that have different (or similar) strengths or traits you want to emulate puts less pressure and time demands on each individual mentor and gives you access to a wider network.

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Great point ML! I think relying too heavily on a single mentor can have a stagnation effect. One mentor is good but more would be better!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      That is great advice! I like the way he framed it so simply.

  • S Scott Johnson

    Great post, Michael! We often overlook these lower level options and don’t see them as mentoring opportunities. I would also like to suggest a few more. Look within your company–assuming you work in the corporate environment. Chance are they have many formal and informal mentoring programs or leadership programs. Don’t discount your immediate supervisor, but don’t limit yourself to him/her either. Look for other great leaders in your company or organization. (And don’t forget about your church or civic groups) It may still be difficult to approach them with a plea for a one-on-one mentorship, but you still stand a greater chance of interaction with them than say a John Maxwell or Seth Godin. God Bless!

  • Jake Garrett

    You nailed it, I have had 3 formal mentors in my life and several informal mentors. As I grew in the lower levels of mentoring I began to acquire even stronger mentors. I now have a mentor that is a c-level executive for a fortune 100 company and train others to disciple in the same manner that I grew through. Great advice.

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      That’s an awesome example Jake of “…not despising humble beginnings…” – I think the lower mentorship levels are critical foundation components that the higher levels build on.

      If someone doesn’t know the basic concepts of accounting, it will be extremely difficult for them to understand the higher-level concepts surrounding finance. That applies to mentoring as well!

  • Kevin Wall

    Great post Michael. Your friend Andy Andrews is a great example of how to get free mentorship from the local library. Reading hundreds of biographies of successful people showed him both what to do as well as what not to do to become successful.
    My greatest mentoring opportunity came as a young twenty-something through a job on a slow moving tour boat. I quickly realized that I had a captive audience for three days at a time with an average age of about 65 years old. I seized that wisdom by sitting and talking with people who have been there and learned some amazing lessons just from the people around me. Being at a crossroad in my life I acutally considered answering an ad for employment this summer just for the chance to sit and listen again!
    Thanks for sharing your wisdom ( and for free!)

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Kevin, awesome point about biographies – I don’t read enough of those. Thanks for exposing yet another gap in my learning :-)

  • Zech Newman

    Thanks Michael. Another thing I have found in mentorship is do activity together. One of my mentors and I run together for six miles every Tuesday. He already runs and enjoys the company. We have also went way deeper faster then my other mentor. I attribute that to running and not sitting across from each other:) Thanks for your wisdom and being a mentor to me through the written word.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      So true, Zech! This is a great way to connect!

  • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

    One of the many things I respect about you Michael is that you are a lifelong learner. Many people who have achieved the level of success and experience you have would think that “they had arrived” – you don’t present yourself that way.

    Your commitment to personal development and your dedication to pass that development along to us in the form of your blog, podcast, speaking, books and Platform University is an inspiring example of selfless mentorship in motion.

    Thanks for all that you do for your tribe!

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Ditto.

    • http://JonDHarrison.com/ Jonathan Harrison

      Well said Tor – leading by example. To build on what you said, Michael also has a near palpable level of enthusiasm about the ideas and their application; it’s difficult not to get swept along in the positivity and bias for action.
      Wow. I just used a semicolon in a blog comment.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

        Love the semi-colon!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Tor. I appreciate your encouragement!

  • http://personalsuccesstoday.com/ John Richardson

    A great place to find mentors is your local Toastmasters Club. New members are encouraged to work with more experienced members to learn the art of communication and leadership. Most clubs have a mentorship program in place. You can go to toastmasters.org and use the club finder to find a local club in your area. Many of my mentors over the years have come from TM, and the knowledge and experience they have provided has been priceless.

  • http://www.nathanmagnuson.com/ Nathan Magnuson

    Michael, it’s great that you reframe the term “mentoring.” I’ve had many mentors who probably wouldn’t have considered themselves mentors to me, but I did. For any readers who may be interested in building a corporate mentoring program, here are the steps I use: http://www.nathanmagnuson.com/how-to-build-a-professional-mentoring-program/

  • http://www.laurenphelpscoaching.com/ Lauren Phelps

    I like your analogy of asking for marriage on the first date. That’s so true! A good mentor would be someone you have developed a relationship with over time. Thank you for these tips!

  • http://www.dougsmithlive.com/ Doug Smith

    Michael!

    I absolutely loved this post! Especially this part, “Jesus said, “He who is faithful in little is faithful also in much” (Luke 16:10). Until you have taken advantage of the lower mentoring levels, you probably won’t gain access to the higher ones.”

    In my short experience with mentors, I have noticed that the more I grow, the more high quality leaders and mentors come into my life and that are willing to invest in me.

    Thank you for being a mentor from a distance through all the content you create. It’s made a significant difference in my life.

    Thanks!

    Doug

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Doug. I appreciate your encouragement!

  • Gil Michelini

    Without your permission Micheal, you have become a mentor to me. I am a new author and I am grateful to God that I have access to the former CEO of one of the larger publishers. Among my other mentors are Brian Tracy, Pope Francis, Zig Ziglar, Napoleon Hill, Benjamin Franklin, MANY of the saints, and of course Christ Jesus.
    Thanks for being my mentor. BTW, I don’t see many people use the more snarky — great choice :)

  • sespring

    These 8 men were very fortunate to have you as their mentor. This post will help the rest of us do our best with the resources available to us.

  • http://www.seannisil.com/ Sean Nisil

    Thank you for broadening our idea of what being mentored, or being a mentor is. Jesus mentored a core group of 12, not 1. And also to larger groups who sought his guidance and wisdom.

    In my teenage years, I was challenged by a leader with what I now call the “three tiers of mentoring.” First tear is having a person or people wore years and white hair speak into your life and journey alongside you. Second tier is looking for resources to challenge and grow yourself (i.e. Ziglar’s Automobile University). Third tier is leading and mentoring others that may be a step or two behind you in their walk. This concept changed how I approach life…

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      I love Automobile University! RIP Zig!

  • Angela Howard

    I love the idea of broadening your definition of mentoring. We are able to benefit from mentoring in so many different forms. We must be on the same wavelength because I just wrote about this on my blog today as well http://www.noordinarydays.com

  • Linda Kuhar, Christian Coach

    Hi Michael! Thank you for this encouraging post. I am a Women’s Christian Life Coach at http://www.lindakuhar.com and I cannot tell you how many lives I’ve seen change from simply having accountability. I highly recommend finding a mentor or investing in a Coach because you WILL see progress in your life from this process & relationship. I personally have had a Coach for almost 3 years and cannot image not having one!

  • http://www.julieswihart.com/ Julie Swihart

    Thank you for this post. I’d also be interested to hear how you choose who will speak into your life, be it through a blog, a book, a course, etc? Do you choose someone because they are farther than you in a particular area, and then filter what they have to say through your spiritual and moral beliefs? Some people who have success in their professional lives are struggling in their personal lives. Since we don’t know much about the personal lives of others, but since the actions in one area overlap into the other, how do we choose who to listen to? Do you have a strategy here?

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Julie, I think you are on track. I look for people who are doing what I want to do, or know the most about something I want to know, then process the info through my own filters.

      I remember when John Maxwell was talking about reading the controversial book “The Secret”. There are some things in that book that just don’t line up with most spiritual beliefs (in this case, it’s ridiculous to think that you can just “wish” something into being) but he said that there are ideas that do hold truth.

      You can learn truths that would pass your spiritual and moral filters, even from people who don’t share the same spiritual and moral beliefs. You just don’t want to get spiritual and moral advice from them!

      • http://www.julieswihart.com/ Julie Swihart

        Very helpful responses. Thank you!

    • http://JonDHarrison.com/ Jonathan Harrison

      Hi Julie – I have 4 considerations I use: Values, Expertise, Relatability, and (optional) Position outlined here: http://jondharrison.com/2013/03/21/who-do-you-learn-from-2/

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I choose someone who is further along in a specific area. I don’t need to agree with them on everything. In fact, it’s better if I don’t. I learn more. ;-)

  • Priscilla Bray Hammond

    Another potential option: employment. You don’t always get one-on-one mentoring from your boss, but if you truly respect them and want to learn from them, go to work for them.

  • http://opleadership.com/ Mike Stanley

    Michael,

    This post is particularly meaningful to me today. This week one of the most influential leadership mentors I have ever had passed away. Over the years I have taken advantage of all of the different levels that you have discussed in your blog to get me to where I am today. Without them, I never would have been able to enjoy the successes that I have had. Your post today reminds me not only of the value of being mentored, but also, the value of being a mentor. I only hope that I can be half the mentor to someone else that George was to me.

    Take care,
    Mike

    • Jim Martin

      Mike, I am so sorry to hear of the death of this mentor. He obviously made a great investment in your life.

      • http://opleadership.com/ Mike Stanley

        Jim, Indeed he did. Thank you for your kind words. Take care, Mike

  • Kwin Peterson

    Blogging has changed mentoring. One of the perceived advantages of a traditional one-on-one mentoring relationship was the timely and fresh advice — and you couldn’t count on that with a virtual mentor was just putting out a book every year or two.

    But now any person you could possibly want as a mentor has a blog…and the business model requires loads of content…and the authors ask their audiences what content they would like to read…and then they provide it…and then you can decide whether its relevant and how to apply it.

    Is this a great system or what!?

    • Jim Martin

      Kwin, you are so right. Blogging really has made a difference in mentoring. Now it is possible to have a front row seat to what various people are thinking. It is also possible through a blog to interact with other commentators who share the same interests. Very helpful.

  • http://www.DailyMarketingBlog.com/ Matt Law

    From someone who emailed Michael and was “rejected”, I have to say that this post is RIGHT ON and an encouragement for me! Even though Michael said “no”, that doesn’t mean you just give up. Most people who want to be mentored, cry and run away because they want someone to “do it for them.”

    I am a part of Platform University and have learned tons there and been helped by Michael personally. Books – the number one place to get mentored. Find leaders who know about the area where you want to grow and read!

    When I started in business 13 years ago, I was as green as the grass in Oklahoma. But after hundreds upon hundreds of books, courses, membership sites, and asking people to be my mentor, I find that people have began to ask me to mentor them. Who ME? I never found a mentor, but I have them in my life through their resources.

    One of my mentors, Peter Daniels, says that the responsibility is NEVER on the mentor, but on the one being mentored. If people publish a podcast, blog, study courses, and tons of tools to help and people don’t take advantage of it, they are crazy. Growth takes work and sweat!

    In the end I find that as I have grown, growing leaders have wanted to be around me and we sharpen each other and grow together.

    • Jim Martin

      Matt, I love your persistence! Your comment is a great reminder that if what we had in mind doesn’t work out, there are still many, many other resources that will helpful in our growth.

      • http://www.DailyMarketingBlog.com/ Matt Law

        Thanks Jim. So true about how much is available if we only look for it.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your testimony, Matt. Very helpful.

      • http://www.DailyMarketingBlog.com/ Matt Law

        My pleasure sir! Thank you for all that you’re doing here. It is an awesome blessing and I’m learning a ton.

  • kylemusser1

    Great tips Michael! I’ve been a fan of Automobile University for years. I can’t even count the number of times a great book, podcast, blog post or other content has impacted me in life changing ways. Mentorship comes in all shapes & form in life, so be a “Constant collector of ideas” as Jim Rohn would say. Appreciate all you do & keep it coming!

    • Jim Martin

      I like that phrase — be a “Constant collector of ideas”

      • kylemusser1

        It’s been a favorite since I’ve heard it!

  • http://ericspeir.com/ Eric Speir

    I’ve found that a good peer mentor can hold you accountable to goals. I meet with two mentors about every other week and both of them are very successful in their expertise. In fact, it’s a little intimidating at times because of this but it makes me to reach for more.

  • http://www.faughnfamily.com/ Adam Faughn

    You are so right about this, and it is huge in my life. I am leading my first mentoring group this year, and it has changed my life. We combine the meeting aspect with good books and (later this year) a conference.

    What you said about blogs and podcasts hits home with me, too. I met Dave Ramsey a couple of years ago, but felt like I knew him already from his podcast. What a joy to be able to learn from men like him, Andy Andrews, Jeff Goins, and you(!) on a daily or weekly basis.

  • Kathy Kidder

    As you outlined so many great resources my sleepy brain jolted awake to explore and identify the hundreds of mentors I have forgotten about in my impulsive need to finish this project. Your blog and newsletters have been a great push in self-discovery. Thank you. Thank you also to the hundreds of authors on the bookshelves in our rec room, my church family, my former employers over all of my lifetime, my immediate and extended family. There have been a few who surfaced when I least expected it and needed them most, but I know how that was arranged and have to say thank you to my ultimate Mentor – Jesus Christ!

  • Jim Martin

    Michael, this is an outstanding post! You are right. We are defining mentoring too narrowly. Your 8 levels is a great reminder that no matter what stage of life we are in, we have ample opportunities to learn and grow.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Jim.

  • http://www.producewithpassion.com/ Dan McCoy

    Michael, One of the better ways I’ve learned to build my mentoring is to build my mastermind network through video interviews. Eben Pagan talks about adding one new thought leader to your network every 90 days in his interview with Brendan Burchard here (http://www.expertsacademy.com/aff/eben) I can personally attest to this success as my first interview was with actor Glenn Morshower from 24 and about 200 other movies. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_3V19R29XI) As a result of that interview and subsequent followup Glenn and I have become friends and we’ve had dinner with each other’s families and he’s spoken at my church and been a great mentor. Fast forward a few years – and I just met former Tony Robbins, top pitchman and trainer, Roberto Monaco, co founder of Influenceology. Just yesterday I interviewed him via skype. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fy6CIQ9tXJ4) We’ll see where this goes, but just let me use Roberto’s statistic that 75% of my competition is afraid of public speaking. And I can tell you that as an IT business owner, my network has some great people in it. My board of directors as I call them encompass some of the greatest minds in their fields. Thanks for bringing this article out.
    PS – You might want to see that interview as I think Roberto is a good guy for you to know. I can connect you.

  • http://www.beckycastlemiller.com/ Becky Castle Miller

    I’ve been part of a Mastermind group for about six months. It’s an international group of women, and we meet weekly via Go to Meeting for an hour. It’s been an invaluable source of support and encouragement for me! We alternate our format. On our “regular” calls we each take a few minutes to share about our week, current projects, and struggles or frustrations. The others advise or encourage us. We each state a positive intention for the week. Mine is currently: “Writing is a natural and enjoyable part of my day.”

    We’ve recently added a once-every-five-weeks call focused on our future vision and planning, so we can help each other refine where we’re headed. And we also just went through a “hot seat” cycle where we took turns giving one member the entire hour to talk and share in more detail.

    Masterminds can take any format you want. They are a great form of peer mentoring. You could consider asking an experienced mentor in your field if they would be part of a Mastermind group that would allow them to mentor several of you at once, on the same topic.

    • http://www.beckycastlemiller.com/ Becky Castle Miller

      The only difficult thing about getting the group together was finding a time slot that worked weekly across so many time zones! Other than that, starting the group was pretty simple.

  • Glenn Ransom

    Michael,

    I must admit…this is one of the BEST articles that you have ever done!

    I am VERY fortunate to have the parents, relatives, church families, PLUS all the things that you speak of in this article available to me! SO THANKFUL!

    I share your blog and links to the Varsity Internship Program current and alumni bookmen often and am appreciative of the mentoring that you are doing.

    I do believe that “when the student is ready…the teacher will appear”. When we are willing to change, willing to humble ourselves and seek wise counsel…it can always be found (through the ways you wrote of and the Bible).

    Sam Moore, Sonny Crews, Roger McConnell, Larry Beckham, Roddy Dye, Joe Martin, Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, Denis Waitley, this list could go on for a long time…to all of you – THANK YOU!!! Keep writing and speaking.

    Let me know if I or any of the VIP alumni may be of service to you!

    RBEST4HIM,

    Glenn

  • http://www.consciousnessjunkie.com/ CJ

    Mentorship is so important — some form of it is present and has a rich tradition in everything from spirituality to music to success in things like sports and athletics. In some ways the ease of access to information creates the illusion that having information is the same as having the guidance of someone who really understands what is important and how to apply it. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.dwaynecastle.blogspot.com/ Dwayne Castle

    Thanks Michael. Great list and I’m beginning to be more diligent in using some of them myself. One of the things you mentioned was the slow process in training mentors. I’ve found that most of us have the ability to mentor someone in something, but we either sell ourselves short or avoid transparency. I’ve been around the block a time or two and I can choose to keep the lessons I learned, to myself or share when I have the opportunity. I wonder how many of our mistakes could have avoided, if only someone else would have spoken up?

  • http://MainStStark.com Jeff ‘SKI’ Kinsey

    One of my favorite topics. Thanks for some great insight. As I started to read your points, it made me think of the one person who shaped my career and life more than any other (circa 1983):

    Charlie “Tremendous” Jones. I quote him often:
    “You will be the same person you are today, five years from today, except for the people you meet and the books you read.”

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I love that quote. I am going to put that in my quote posts. Thanks!

      • http://MainStStark.com Jeff ‘SKI’ Kinsey

        You are always welcome. Thanks for paying it forward with your blog. Good stuff.

  • http://www.michaelnichols.org/about Michael Nichols

    This is helpful, Michael. A couple of years ago, I had similar questions – Does a leader or organization need a coach, counselor, mentor, or consultant? What’s the difference? I worked with Building Champions coach, Raymond Gleason to define each role. In this article I contrast each role – http://www.michaelnichols.org/coach-counselor-mentor-consultant/.

    Then, What does mentoring have to do with leadership? The truth is, if we’re not mentoring we’re not really leading – here’s that post – http://www.michaelnichols.org/mentoring-is-leading/. If we’re too busy to be fully committed to be mentoring new leaders, we’re too busy.

  • http://asmithblog.com/ asmithblog

    Right now I only have one mentor, but would like to get it where I have one for each area of life. I mean one person can’t be good at everything, right? So, I want a different person for each area who excels in that specific area to coach me along.

  • http://doingthings.net/ Andrzej Tucholski

    I like the idea that mr Green pursues in his latest book “Mastery”. Due to overload of information and people blogging almost about everything we – in many cases – don’t need “real” mentors anymore. “Real” as in one persond bound to be helping only one other person. If you understand English and have an Internet connection you’re pretty much ready to go :)

  • http://www.kixblogger.com/ Kix Blogger

    I also think those who are in leadership roles who are planning on retiring or leaving their position, should mentor their replacement or candidates for replacement.

    I have seen large successful churches crumble under the new leader who was not mentored by the previous pastor.

  • Fiso Mari

    Thanks forthe great topic.It certainly hasgotmethinking oiutside the box as I have been wishingfor a mentor fora while now

  • JustinRFoster

    Michael,

    Thanks so much for helping to expand my definition. I’ve heard you talk of being mentored through books and conferences before and that serves as a needed reminder to me. There are certainly many ways to grow. Thank you for mentoring me. And I look forward to gaining access to those higher levels of mentoring by being diligent where I am.

  • lancecashion

    The KEY to attracting a mentor is to be teachable and passionate about your calling. If ANYONE enters your mentor radar and gives you advice, send them a ‘thank you’ note. That person who you wish to be mentored by may not even know that he or she has done something of value for you. A short and sincere ‘thank you’ is a show-stopper for even the busiest person, if they have a heart to teach….

    Over the years, I have established an ‘orbit’ of mentors and advisors. I forgot where I first heard of the idea (most likely a book). Some of these people don’t know they are mentors. I consider Dave Ramsey and Chris Locuto ‘off-site’ advisors. I have two mentors in business. For several years, the senior pastor at my church was an ‘off-site’ mentor and advisor until two months ago when he began personally mentoring me. I never ask any of these folks to be my mentor. I simply listened, responded and remained teachable and available.

    I now have three folks who call me mentor. It makes me want to be my best for them, even if that means them seeing me at my worst. Thanks MH, you always make me think and thank :)

    • Jim Martin

      Lance, great to hear about the ways you have established an orbit of mentors. I really like what you say regarding the importance of a thank you note.

      • http://lancecashion.com/ Lance Cashion

        Thanks Jim. Sorry for the delay… not quite used to Disqus just yet.

  • michaelprosario

    Thanks for sharing your insights. God’s timing is amazing. I’m helping to design a social network to help mentor young students. You’ve provided some solid insight into features and ways we can organize the site.

    Thanks for being my mentor through your social media and your book… It really has changed my mindset. I love being your book and sharing it with my team.

    • Jim Martin

      Michael, great to hear about your project – designing a social network to help mentor young students. That is great!

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Prime3coaching/180794405305000 PRIME3COACHING

    Jesus said, “He who is faithful in little is faithful also in much” (Luke 16:10).

    This is really interesting to me because when I meet with a potential client, I will NOT take them on board until they complete at least one action item. It shows me if they can complete at least one thing we had discussed that they will be committed to the process and continue to complete tasks assigned.

    As far as different ideas for “mentoring”, I always tell people the most influential people in my life are people I have yet to meet. Some I probably will never meet, but that does not mean they haven’t left a lasting impact on my life!

  • http://www.VictoryChristianCoaching.com/ Marianne Clements

    Michael,
    These are great ideas for being mentored.

    I was blessed to have a mentor and I would recommend that people be open to a wider range of mentors. My mentor didn’t have any special skills or talents, but she was a wise woman of God who was willing to listen to me and gently encourage me to consider alternatives. That was exactly what I needed and it propelled me forward in relationships and in business.

    Have a Victorious Day!
    Marianne

  • http://jorgesilvestrini.com/ Jorge Silvestrini

    When the student is ready, the teacher always shows up… The teacher may come in different shapes and forms, but it’s always available! D. Ramsey, M. Hyatt, D. Miller, P. Flynn, and many more – all teachers and mentors…

  • http://www.byronseyeview.com/ @akaTGIF on Twitter

    100% Michael!

  • http://www.johngallagherblog.com John Gallagher

    Michael, Thanks for sharing. Blogs and podcasts, along with books are a big part of my mentoring at this point. I have done frequent relcations, so a virtual mastermind group is something I may consider as I have friends across the country who are interested in growth. I travel a good bit with my work, so it could be challenging. Thanks for the link to Dan Miller’s resources. Thanks for being a mentor through PlatformU and your blog.

  • zxoiesru

    Don’t recommend Bluehost anymore. They SUCK NOW. I used to love them. They were the best. However, now they made all these changes and are AWFUL and websites are down half the time.

  • Lawrence Snow

    Now this might seem a bit naive but if you’re just beginning your journey and you seek and out and find other mentor opportunities as suggest above or indeed a mentor, how do you know if what you are gaining knowledge in is even the correct information if you have nothing to base it on?

  • P.Lynn

    Those were some great suggestions to consider. Having a mentor can be just as important as your professional experience when it comes to taking your career to the next level. Sometimes it is even beneficial to have more than one, to help keep your growth well rounded. Here is a great article: ‘How To Get Advice From Powerful People’ (http://goo.gl/1P55bZ ) that may help you nurture and build those relationships.

  • Jennifer Hacker

    Another great option to try is peer mentoring. A mentor is anyone you can learn from and a peer can provide great personal growth. http://www.thesinglediaries.com/inner-circle/looking-for-a-mentor/

  • http://www.suttonparks.com/ Sutton Parks

    Excellent article! For me, the challenge it so be faithful in what I already know how to do. Mentors tend to favor those that ‘pray with their feet’.

  • DJD

    Very interesting stuff, Michael. Have you considered a point#9 as “Co-mentoring”? I envision this as the “perfect marriage” of older and younger, gifted and struggling nicely, strong and weak. It might only occur if the pheromones align!

  • Zuna Okafor

    I have never read a more detailed and well written article on mentorship process. Mentorship is actually very essential to get in any walk of life, especially in business, primarily because of the amount and type of risk involved in this. I can say this because I used to be a teacher and now I am planning to start my education/tutorial centre for students. I am quite confused and scared but I know that I really want to do this. I have decided to get myself a mentor and I am having a great experience with Mara Mentor. It has made the mentorship process very convenient. At least now I don;t have to worry about how to find a good mentor. I simply got myself registered at http://www.mentor.mara.com
    I recommend it to anyone who is in the same boat as me. Do give the site a visit.

  • Divya Agarwal

    Very precise article Michael. It is very important for people to have a mentor in life. mentor could be your family, relatives, colleagues or someone who is a complete stranger to you. Even a book could be a mentor. But for me, I found mine at mentor.mara.com