In 2005, a lot of things were changing in my life that I thought I needed a mentor. I was beginning medical school and was also actively running an orphan care organization that I had started only two months prior. I wanted to be able to succeed at both.

To find a good mentor, you need to know what you are looking for. I started a list of criteria then that has evolved over the years to what I now have. I’ve learned, everybody needs a mentor. The president of the United States has many advisors. The greater your responsibilities in life, the more you need advisors, mentors, and coaches.

Below is my current list of 7 things I consider when I am looking for a mentor, coach, or advisor.

  1. What area do I want to grow in? It’s important to be clear on what your goal is.
  2. Are our worldviews or beliefs systems aligned?
  3. Do they have a conflict of interest?
  4. Do they love me and what I stand for?
  5. Do they have experience that is pertinent to my area of need?
  6. Do they have the heart and skills of effective mentoring? Talent and experience are not enough.
  7. Can I create a win-win relationship based on felt needs? For the relationship to flourish, I can’t simply be a taker. I must also find ways to sow into their lives so that they consider time spent with me as something they benefit from doing.

A good coach or mentor can help you reach heights that you would never be able to reach alone. However, a bad mentor or coach can cause serious havoc to your course.

Choose your mentors wisely.