I am always amazed when people say that they have been working up the courage to ask me for a number of months.
It makes me wonder, am I that hard to talk to?
If you think you are the only one afraid to ask, I’m happy to inform you that you are not.
A good idea is to ask for something very short and easy to refuse — that makes it more comfortable for everyone. If they don’t want to do it, they don’t feel too badly — it wasn’t a big ask. If you are told “no”, it’s easy to regroup, as it’s not a big rejection.
It should go something like this:
Ask for 15-20 minutes to get some advice — don’t throw down asking for mentorship, that’s like proposing on the first date.
If that first meeting goes well, then ask if s/he would mind a more regular arrangement. Depending on the level of the person, this might be 1/2 hour a few times a year or at most monthly.
Again, make it easy. Easy is the brand you are looking for as a mentee (note: not desperate or needy).
Good luck asking, I’ll try to write more about what to do when they say “yes”, because I know they will.