Mentors OnlineI am fortunate to be guided by some of the best and brightest minds. My mentors include a sizable list of “who’s who”. For example, counted among my mentors are Michael Hyatt, Tony Dungy, Ron Edmundson, John C. Maxwell, Max Lucado, Marcus Buckingham, Jim Collins, Patrick Lencioni, Laurie Beth Jones, Max DePree and more. The best part is they can mentor you as well. In fact, they may have already started.

I am sure you’ve figured out that I am talking about mentoring through published works. Admittedly, this relationship is one-way. Therefore, this may not be considered by many to be mentoring. Yet, when you have input from so many of the greatest leaders, there is much to be said for even this one-way relationship. Social media and modern technology provide us a wealth of opportunities to learn from the leading experts in our fields and leadership development. Here are some tips for establishing and maintaining your own core of virtual mentors:

1.       Blogs: Subscriptions to blogs are an excellent way to receive regular updates, insights and ideas. These regular updates often include advice on current events and trending topics. Some of my favorite leadership blogs include:

2.       Networks: Using LinkedIn, Ning, even Facebook and other, more socially-focused networks is a great way of connecting with like-minded individuals in the same, or similar, fields and industries. Some of my favorite virtual networks include:

3.       Books: Naturally, reading books by thought leaders in your chosen field are a great source of information and guidance. There are too many favorites for me to list here.

4.       Audio: Generally speaking, I purchase the matching audio version of any book I like. This enables me to “freshen up”  up on some of my favorite content, This is particularly useful given a long commute and / or when something comes up and I remember, “that one author had a great point on this… let me find that again.” Alternatively, podcasts and many other audio formats are excellent for those who travel or during exercise.

5.       Search: Of course, there will be occasions when something comes up and you do not recall a reference to the challenge from your existing team of virtual mentors. When that happens, it may be time to expand your board of virtual advisors. Start with an online search and you may find an advisor focused on that particular niche.

So why aren’t you being mentored by these or other leading experts? Perhaps you are now – great! If not, I strongly encourage you and your teams to pick up some of these tips and start receiving advice and mentoring from the best in the field. It may be one-way, but in the end, one-way mentoring from the best and brightest is better than no mentoring from them at all.

Question: Do you have one or more virtual mentors? Who do you get your guidance and advice from and how?