To approach a respected colleague to act as your mentor, start out with a specific request
on a small issue. For example, instead of directly asking, “Would you mind being my
mentor?” try “Would you mind looking over this proposal? You’re so good at getting your
point across…I’d appreciate any advice you have on how I could improve this.”
Starting out with a small request is a way to use the “foot in the door” technique.
Using this persuasive technique, your colleague accepts your relatively minor request, after
which you may propose a more significant request. Because the colleague has already reviewed your proposal, he or she will be more inclined to accept another offer from you in the future. The result: it builds the relationship slowly and is less likely to be perceived as an overwhelming task. Then, as the bond grows and evolves, it is a natural progression to continue to provide further counsel and advice.