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Finding a mentor

Updated Wednesday, 17 January 2024

A mentor can empower your personal development and help you to identify and achieve your career goals. This article looks at what qualities you should search for in a mentor.

This content is associated with The Open University's Business and Management courses and qualifications.

It can be very helpful to find a mentor who will support you in your workplace learning. A mentor can help you think about problems you may be facing, and new ideas or ways of working you want to try out. They will usually help by listening to your thoughts and ideas and asking questions to help you think more clearly about them.

A mentor can be someone you work with who has experience relevant to your line of work. This is usually not your line manager, unless your employer requires it, or you work in a particularly learning-focused organisation. 

If you are not in paid employment you might prefer to choose a mentor who is close to your work context but who may also not be in paid employment. The key is to find someone who can help you to develop your skills, and who can give you a new and different perspective on your learning.

A mentor should be:

  • easy to approach
  • experienced in the sort of work and learning that you wish to do
  • able to direct you to other helpful people and has good contacts
  • interested in the learning that you are doing
  • able to meet with you two or three times during your module
  • willing to talk and listen to you.

Of course, you are unlikely to find anyone who matches this list perfectly and sometimes your choice can be very restricted.


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