How to Find the Perfect Substance Abuse Professional Mentor and Coach
If you are a substance abuse professional, or hope to one day be one, there is nothing more valuable than having a business mentor and coach on your side to whom you can turn to in a variety of situations. A mentor is someone who has more experience in a business or industry than you do who can help you to rise in your profession and meet new challenges. Mentors can serve many useful roles, such as being a sounding board for new business ideas and expanding a professional network. They can also act as a confidante when work-life gets out of balance and provide excellent tips born from years of experience. Mentors sound great, but what do you look for in a mentor and how do you go about finding one?
How to Find a Mentor – Qualities of Your Mentor
Before you embark on your search, take some time to think about what your goals are and what you would like to get out of your relationship with your mentor. Are your long-term goals mostly financial in nature? Are they to make a difference in a particular way? What does success mean to you and what does the end result look like? If you pick a mentor who is not living that sort of example, they won’t really be teaching you to achieve the right goals.
Also consider the sort of person that you may work well with and their characteristics. It’s ok to make a list. Are they a good listener or someone that spends a lot of time relating their experiences to you? Are you looking for someone that is well-connected or that has a particular expertise, such as group counseling or dual diagnosis treatment? After you have a good list, divide that up between your “wants” and your “needs” as you’re never going to find that perfect candidate but having a list is a good start.
Next, determine if there are some candidates who are willing to work with you and arrange to meet with them, informally, if possible. Take a little bit of time to get to know them and try not to let “chemistry” get in the way of what’s important as far as your goals. Know that it’s also ok to have more than one mentor if you are unable to find one that can devote a lot of time to you or if you find several that have different qualities that you value.
How to Find a Mentor – Where to Look
- Family and Friends – is a great place to start. You may find someone right there or a very solid lead.
- Your Extended Network – This is friends of friends and of business associates. You can put the word out that you are looking for a business mentor, or several, and that you are simply looking for some leads. You may also meet someone at a conference or trade show that peaks your interest and you can start building a relationship with that person that can grow into a mentorship.
- Complete Strangers – This is an option and there is an organization just for this sort of thing called SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives Associations). SCORE is a Washington D.C.-based non-profit that provides free mentoring services to business owners from its 364 chapters around the country.
- Pay for it – I’d use this as a last resort but you can certainly pay for business expertise anytime. It’s called hiring a consultant.
How to Find a Mentor – Building the Relationship
Once you find a Mentor, the relationship takes time to build and, if nurtured properly, can last many years. This requires that both of you be responsible to each other, respect each others time and continue to invest in the relationship. There is a commitment by both parties, and some of these relationships last a lifetime while some just a short time and the parties move on to other things. What you make of your relationship with your Mentor, once established, is up to you.