Choosing a mentor is an important career decision, working with a good mentor can increase your chances of succeeding in your career and business. There are some things you have to keep in mind when choosing a mentor. These factors help you decide if a mentor is right for you.

WHAT YOU NEED: a mentor must be fit for helping you develop your present career needs and even the future ones. Thinking of how best a person suits your present developmental needs without considering how efficiently they can mentor you when you become better is futile.

KNOW IF THE PERSON IS SUITABLE: no one is perfect, so don’t expect perfection in someone that is mentoring you. Be sure the person has the values that are important to you and be convinced the person knows enough to mentor you. Good communication skills, honesty and understanding are attributes you should look out for.

ALLIGNED GOALS: Take a good, hard look at your proposed mentor’s outlook on life, your field and company’s values before committing. The odds of finding someone who matches you 100 percent are slim and insensible if you are going to grow into an improved version of yourself over time. Focus on life philosophies, such as: learning, determination, thoughtfulness and trust.

LISTENING EARS: mentors are guides, even though they don’t have to spoon feed you everything you would learn. They must have the ability to listen and help overcome challenges. Avoid someone that turns down your ideas and opinions all the time and consider someone that is willing to listen and contribute to your progress.

DOES THAT PERSON EARN YOUR RESPECT:  a mentor should be someone whose life challenges you, someone who has achieved on some grounds, someone who you hold in high esteem and someone who you wouldn’t mind being like. A mentor is someone with experience, not necessarily by age. They just have to earn your respect before you can count their opinion valuable.

Choosing the wrong mentor can set back your career instead of fast-tracking it. Be strategic about what you need to learn, make sure your styles complement each other, and bring something to the table in exchange for teaching you instead of you learning from failure. Choosing the right mentor can be the most important career decision you’ll ever make.