1. Prioritize your list of criteria (the attributes and characteristics). Come back to the list after you’ve identified some potential mentor candidates and weigh your decision based on your criteria. This will help you to make a decision based on learning fit and is not swayed by chemistry.
2. Determine your personal readiness for a mentoring relationship. Mentoring is going to take time and work. Can you look yourself in the mirror and honestly say that you have the time, willingness, and commitment to engage in a mentoring relationship?
3. Reflect on your past mentoring experiences and the people who have been there to guide and strengthen you. What lessons have you learned that will help you make your future mentoring relationships stronger and more productive? When you meet with your mentor for the first time you will want to share your experiences and ask her about hers. It will give you an opportunity to establish mutual expectations.
4. Establish agreements to lay the groundwork for your relationship. If you hit a glitch or stumbling block you can always refer back to your ground rules. Simple things like agreeing that you will begin and end on time, always have a meeting date on the calendar, ending the relationship on a positive note (even if it doesn’t work out) are helpful in keeping the relationship on track. Talk about confidentiality and decide what it means to you and your mentor and discuss the boundaries and limits of the relationship.