Look for someone who has been through what you are going through now. All successful people may not be good mentors.
Look for someone with a similar background, and definitely from the same industry. Avoid people who are struggling themselves.
Most probably you will find your mentor in someone you have known for some time; someone who has been around, and you have been meaning to speak to anyway.
Look for the following traits:
Self reflective: You want someone who can reflect on his own experience and recount the steps. Not everyone is capable of doing this. But this is most important for you. You need your mentor to remember how he did things when he was in your shoes…and if he would do it any differently.
Busy: A good mentor will be successful and busy…but he will make time for you. Avoid mentors who seem to have more time than you do, and may treat mentoring as a hobby.
Curious: Just as you will be curious about your mentor, your mentor should have natural curiosity about you, your life, your work and whatever is happening with you. More often than not, a mentor will also consider himself to be your life coach…that’s a good sign.
Warm: This is most important. Warm mentors will want to help you with connections and resources; they will want you to become what you want to become. They have such affection for and faith in you, that their advice will make you glow. It is good to have a good mentor, but a mentor who is self reflective, busy, curious and warm will change your life.
Sudhir Sharma, Editor-in-Chief