Want to Become a Mentor? Follow These 5 Steps

UPDATED: March 19, 2024
PUBLISHED: March 19, 2024
Woman mentoring another woman

Take a few moments to think about the individuals who have had the biggest impact on your life. Most likely, these individuals consist of family members, teachers, a work supervisor and friends who served as mentors. A mentor is someone who offers support, gives advice and helps guide others through a personal or professional journey. Eventually, you may become one yourself and carry on the meaningful legacy of mentoring. 

However, mentorship may be a completely new concept to you. You may wonder, “How can I become a mentor?” or “Why become a mentor to others?” If that’s the case, then you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’ll take a closer look at what’s involved in the mentorship process. You’ll learn about key mentorship skills, whether you should get mentorship training, and what’s required to start a professional mentoring business.

Types of mentors

When learning how to become a mentor, it’s important to research the different types that exist. Exploring your options will help you determine what type of mentor you want to be and establish yourself within the right industry. Mentors serve in various capacities ranging from peer to professional. Some of the most common types of mentors found today include:

  • Peer mentor: This is typically someone close in age or experience to their mentee. Oftentimes, they’re a friend or co-worker, so this type of mentorship is more casual. Though, they still offer advice, support and guidance. 
  • Professional mentor: This is an individual who has chosen to pursue mentoring in a formal capacity. They desire to provide others with guidance and support within their industry, often serving as a sounding board. They will typically have scheduled meetings with their mentee and will advise them on professional goals and action steps.
  • Spiritual mentor: A spiritual adviser offers faith-based mentorship and supports their mentee’s spiritual journey. This may be a religious leader or someone involved with a religious congregation.
  • Group mentor: Most mentoring happens one-on-one, but group mentorships exist too. Group mentors work with several individuals (usually three or more) for a set time to provide them with advice and support.

5 steps to become a professional mentor 

Professional mentoring can be appealing to many people across different industries. Think of it as a mutually beneficial relationship. A mentor gets to earn a living and share their expertise while the mentee learns and grows professionally. In a world where growing professionally is more important than ever (a 2019 survey found that mentorship had “an outsize impact on a worker’s career across several measures”), understanding how to become a mentor will help you offer your experience and expertise to others.

Here are five steps on how you can become a professional mentor to help get you started.

1. Build a reputation in your industry

Whether you’re working in tech, law, health care, education or a creative industry, building a reputation will help you to establish yourself as someone who is knowledgeable and experienced, something that all mentees highly value in a potential mentor. A great way to initially build your reputation is through workplace contributions, the career moves you’ve made and other activities like volunteering and being a part of professional organizations. Other ways you can build your reputation include sharing your expertise with others as well as networking and collaborating with others in your field.

2. Decide if you want to make it your business 

Mentoring can look different for everyone depending on how you want to approach it. You may choose to become a mentor to only one or two people within your field. This can be a fantastic way to achieve professional fulfillment while serving as a trusted adviser to your mentees. Alternatively, you may choose to make mentoring your business. This requires greater involvement along with additional mentees to manage, but it can be a worthwhile decision if you feel beginning a mentoring business is the right move.

Either way, you might want to start by advising your peers or direct reports without charging them. This will help you get your start, build mentorship skills and help you decide if you want to pursue professional mentoring as a business.

3. Consider getting certified 

As someone new to mentoring, you may want to consider mentorship training through certification programs. They can help sharpen existing mentorship skills you have and provide you with new ones. If you’re wondering how to become a certified mentor, consider the following options:

You can also check local colleges and universities near you to see what kind of mentor certifications they offer or see if your workplace offers any type of formal mentorship training.

4. Work on your personal branding 

You’ll want to start building your personal branding as a mentor as well—especially if you’re interested in starting a mentoring business. Personal branding is about showcasing what you’re all about to your potential mentees. This includes defining yourself and sharing everything you have to offer. 

To start working on your personal brand, think about where you are in your industry and what makes your expertise stand out from others. What kind of knowledge and guidance do you have to offer your mentees? Why should they care? Answering these questions will help you determine the foundation of your personal brand. From there, you can start building on it. Be sure to remain consistent once you’ve figured out the general direction of your personal brand both in how you present yourself in person and online.

5. Open your mentoring business 

If your journey leads to you deciding to open a mentoring business, there are a few key things you’ll want to keep in mind as you get started.

  • Do I need a website? Yes! A website will help potential clients find you, and it’s a great way to showcase your mentorship skills and everything you have to offer.
  • What about clients? If you’re opening a mentoring business, you’ll need more than one or two clients to carry you! You can reach out to your network for potential clients and market your services online.
  • What kind of business structure should I choose? The structure of your mentoring business will depend on what works best for you. Ask yourself questions like how long you want each mentorship to last, how often you’ll be able to meet with each mentee, and how many clients you can reasonably handle at one time.
  • How much should I charge? Your rates will depend on several factors such as your experience and the types of services you’re offering. For example, if you want to offer both long- and short-term mentoring services, the rates for both of those options will be different. You’ll also need to determine how much you’ll need to make in order to cover things like your business expenses, taxes and living costs.You’ll also need to consider whether you want to charge by the hour or a retainer fee (where a client pays you a set amount each month). 

Becoming a mentor is a decision that can be extremely rewarding for both you and your mentee. Take the time before you start advising others to establish yourself in your industry and to determine what professional mentoring path is right for you.

Photo by Fizkes/Shutterstock.com.