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How to find a leadership mentor

Are you a forward-thinking business professional seeking to enhance your leadership skills? Discover the power of having a leadership mentor who can help you navigate the journey.


Leadership – the ability to see the big picture, identify a vision and goals, then set the strategy and guide the actions of others to achieve it – is vital for forward-thinking businesses to succeed.


Developing the many practical skills that contribute to effective leadership, however, takes time, effort and experience, so if you can benefit from the hindsight of someone else, why wouldn’t you? 

What is a leadership mentor? 


A leadership mentor is someone who uses their own experience, contacts and know-how – specifically in relation to leadership skills, practices and trends within the same sector of employment – to provide advice and guidance to someone less experienced. Just like any other form of mentoring, the purpose of leadership mentoring is to nurture the mentee, encouraging them to learn, grow and upskill. 


Over a set period of time and formats agreed upfront – typically one-to-one meetings, emails and/or phone calls –  they’ll support your personal and professional development by helping you identify and focus on obtaining or maintaining the most relevant knowledge, skills and experience needed to advance in your role or career.


They’ll offer a listening ear, a sense-check and sounding board, supporting you to uncover the strengths to focus on when applying for jobs or promotion, as well as any critical gaps or weaknesses to priorities.  

Why is having a leadership mentor important? 


As a new or emerging leader, having a more senior leadership mentor can boost your confidence and fast-track your development, enabling you to recognise and promote your best qualities, characteristics, skills and experience.


Choosing a mentor in the same sector provides opportunities to expand your network of contacts and puts you in an excellent position to identify upcoming professional events and opportunities. 


The relationship should provide a safe space for reflection, planning and support. Your leadership mentor will get to know you and use their understanding and personal experience to help you improve.


As well as offering career development advice, they may help you move forward with organisational issues or workplace challenges, or offer guidance, for example, on work/life balance issues and practical skills, such as time management or prioritising.  

How to prepare to find a leadership mentor


You will be looking for an expert in your field, someone who can broaden your perspective and practice, understands the context of your career, and can help you grow your network and build relationships.


Since you already have a line manager and access to senior contacts within your own place of employment, it makes sense to try to find someone in a different company, but ideally the same sector or a different, but relevant role, who is perhaps three to five years ahead of you in their career.  


Before you approach a leadership mentor, however, you need to first consider what you want to accomplish through mentoring. What do you hope to learn? What help and support are you seeking? What experience should you seek? Map out your goals and make a list of how you believe a mentor can assist you. 

How to find a leadership mentor


Your leadership mentor should be someone you trust, with whom you have developed a rapport and whose judgment you respect. 


You can find a mentor using your existing professional networks, for example, approaching past connections or former line managers, or professionals you interact with at industry events and conferences.


LinkedIn is also a great place to find inspirational leaders outside of your current networks, for example, by scanning some of the online networks and forums related to your profession or considering the contacts of your contacts and friends.  


How can a Global MBA help? 


When you join the University of Hull Online Global MBA, you gain access to a diverse network of fellow students, alumni, faculty, and industry professionals. This network can be a goldmine for finding a leadership mentor.


By connecting with your peers and engaging in discussions, you can identify potential mentors who share your career interests and goals. Alumni, in particular, often have valuable industry experience and insights to offer. 


Ready to realise your full potential as a business leader? Discover the Hull Online Global MBA:


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