How to Use Google+ to Find Mentors
A mentor can be one of the most valuable assets in your career or your business. When you have access to a mentor, you not only benefit from her successes and her achievements, you also learn the lessons of her failures without having to fail yourself. Yet, finding a mentor – or finding the right mentor – can be a difficult process.
One of the tools you can use to find a mentor is Google Plus. Google Plus may be the newest social media site, but it may well also be the one with the most potential in terms of mentoring.
Here are some concrete ways you can use Google Plus to find and interact with a mentor:
1. Understand the characteristics that make a great mentor.
You’re not simply looking for someone with a track record of success. Success in their business doesn’t mean they know how to be successful in yours. Instead, remember that great mentors have great minds; they demonstrate the kind of analytical skills that can be very useful in a number of business settings, including yours.
2. Identify key players in your field with a Google Plus presence.
Notice that we didn’t say immediately inundate them with requests that they mentor you. Chances are pretty good that they’re full up right now. Instead, identify other authoritative figures in your industry that are in that major player’s circles. Listen to the information that they share about the workplace, and decide whether or not they might be a good fit.
3. Forego the formal mentoring process.
Simply engaging someone regularly on Google Plus in a professional fashion can result in the same kinds of output as a formal mentorship might. This opens up the pool of potential mentors, by the way; you’re not longer looking for someone with years of experience who can give you the big picture on your business; rather, you’re looking for success stories and what you can really learn from the experiences of others.
4. Create a mentorship circle.
Identify those Google Plus users who would offer great potential as mentors. Add them to a single circle, and spend time each day cultivating those relationships. Often, one will rise to the top after a while and you’ll be able to enter a more intense mentoring relationship.
5. Use your existing Google Plus contacts for mentorship ideas.
If you’re having trouble finding a mentor on your own, there’s a pretty good chance someone in one of your circles has some ideas for you. This assumes, of course, that you have industry peers in some of your circles. Those will be your most valuable assets in mentorship referrals.
6. Make the best of the mentoring relationship.
Realize that mentoring isn’t about the other person telling you how to advance your career or run your business; it’s about them giving you the benefit of their knowledge and experience – including their failures. It’s up to you to take that data, synthesize it, and apply it to your individual situation.
7. Use Google Plus Hangouts to enhance the mentorship process.
So much of our communication is done nonverbally. The Video chat component of Google Plus hangouts lets you and your mentor communicate more effectively and efficiently. It will give you both a better perspective on the other person, reduce misunderstanding, and boost your overall success scenarios.
8. Take advantage of your mentor’s circles to form additional connections.
Chances are your mentor has access to any number of useful contacts with which you should be networking. Vendors, other experts in your field, additional resources, and even potential future vendors. Whenever appropriate, as for an introduction via Google Plus so that you can establish instant rapport with the new resource.
9. Know when it’s time to be done.
At some point, you’re going to learn every lesson that the mentor can teach you (or at least every lesson you’re willing to hear). When that happens, your mentor goes back out to the vast sea of your Google circles. Keep in regular contact, though, because you’ll need access to some of the other up-and-coming names in your field, as well as your mentor’s existing network.
Google Plus creates a different mentorship opportunity than, let’s say, LinkedIn. While LinkedIn is more narrowly defined around business relationships, Google Plus lets you expand your mentorship possibilities in new ways, and grow your professional network beyond those areas with which you normally deal on a day to day basis.
Dominick Frasso is the SEO/SEM Specialist at Vistage International, an executive coaching organization that helps CEO members build better companies through unique executive development opportunities. In order to provide a powerful learning environment for members, Vistage identifies qualified mentors seeking CEO jobs and positions them as leaders of CEO peer groups. Dominick leverages his experience in multiple marketing roles, including advertising, media buys, direct mail, email, marketing analytics, and SEO / SEM to help Vistage acquire qualified Chairs and recruit members with a high potential for success in the program.
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