Pro Tips: How to Find the Right Mentor

Having a mentor can help project professionals accelerate their learning—and build confidence and maturity within their team. So, PMI asked project managers: What steps can you take to find the right mentor?

Headshot of TuJana Green

Dig deep to discover an ideal fit 
Most work environments in this era don't necessarily have traditional mentorship programs. Therefore, you need to actively seek out your mentor—internally or externally. Read. Listen. Take classes. Join organizations that align with your aspirations. Find your mentor by finding your like tribe for encouragement, motivation and career growth. 
TuJana Green, outside plant engineering and construction manager, Shentel, Washington, D.C. 

Headshot of Rashad Issa

Create a mentorship group
Mentoring does not need to come from one person, so keep an open mind and network with as many people as possible. Join your local professional body, such as a local PMI chapter. Or get involved with your university’s alumni program since many of them have mentoring options. If you build a strong network, you can get situational mentorship.
Rashad Issa, PMP, quality and business improvement lead, the Baltic Exchange, London

Headshot of Tyrone Cook

Build relationships—and mentors will naturally follow
Some people don’t even know they are mentors—it just happens naturally because you made a real career connection with someone. In those cases, there is no official “Hey, you are my mentor” or “I’ll be your mentor.” If you can’t find one, don’t worry. Just focus on building relationships through experiences with other good project professionals.
Tyrone Cook, PMP, senior project manager, Forbes Project Management, Leiria, Portugal

Headshot of Louise Newman

Seek someone who will challenge you
My mentor is continually encouraging me to push myself out of my comfort zone—but doesn’t make me feel overwhelmed. You want a mentor who never makes you feel dumb or annoying, no matter how many questions you ask. Having a great mentor with these skills is very encouraging.
Louise Newman, CAPM, service delivery coordinator, Orion NZ Ltd., Canterbury, New Zealand

Find a career role model
Pattern yourself after people who have achieved success in the direction you wish to go. Treat someone whose career you admire to coffee or tea, then conduct an informational interview and ask them how to find a mentor in your industry—or whether they could be your mentor. Sometimes it's truly who you know, rather than what you know, so expand your network.
Gail Olin, clinical quality leader, Defense Health Agency, San Antonio, Texas, USA