Often mentoring is something that just happens, most entrepreneurs are happy to take advice and surround themselves with a great team. So what makes a great mentor and how do you find one that suits you?
We hear so many different titles these days, life coach, business coach, growth and transformation specialists, sounding boards they are all there with a specific skill: what do you need right now just for you? What place are you at in your life? It is important to have someone who is in tune with you and your personal journey and that has the knowledge that you are seeking right now.
To find a mentor we often look to people we know, someone who has faced adversity in a courageous manner.
This is great, it is important to have people that inspire us, ask them how they make decisions, confront fears and move on. What about our personal business journey? My definition of a business mentor is someone who strikes a balance between expert business advice and the empathy with the individuals personal journey and mindset; getting them personally ready for each step. It is a professional relationship where resources, knowledge and networks are shared to enhance the mentee’s professional and personal growth.
Mentoring is definitely not the soft option we take our roles seriously becoming deeply connected and invested in the success of the individual. It is a long term relationship that is built and maintained even if at the latter stages only light touch. A good mentor is always looking to help empower the individual tuning into their strengths and core belief system, helping them shine in the way only they can.
Important: If you want a good mentor you have to be willing to invest in the relationship it is a two way commitment! A mentor is not someone that just holds you accountable, you must have a genuine interest and readiness to learn. You are not expected to adopt every suggestion but to listen and discuss to enable an open mind and new perspective on things to take your business journey forward. You are ultimately responsible for your business and a business mentor giving their opinion cannot be accountable for your actions – a good mentor will have terms and conditions set out so ask to see them.
So what do you need to look for in a business mentor?
- Someone that inspires you – personal attributes that demonstrate success and knowledge.
- Infectious enthusiasm and positivity – they need to motivate you (remember this is also 2 way and you also are a ‘weather creator’ in your life so always examine the shadow you cast)
- A teacher – How well can they explain things to you? Not everyone has a natural ability to teach.
- A good listener – essential
- You have to like and gel with them – It may sound obvious but can you get to know them at a personal level and share your feelings, you have to feel comfortable.
- Excellent communication and people skills – the ability to give constructive feedback and challenge you enough to stretch you to feeling achievement and not beyond your stress boundaries. It is no good to send you into overwhelm and affect your personal well being there has to be a balance. Being just out of your comfort zone is where the magic happens trust me.
- Someone who sets and meets goals – leading by example how well do they respond to requests and answer your emails.
- Time – Do they have the personal time to take you on as a mentee.
The truth is you probably already know someone who you would consider, looking to your peers is a good thing as you probably already have strong relationships formed. There is no formal system to follow and not one person that will be there for everything. You will need different people for different times and situations in your life and that just may mean a one off session to get you back on track. All of the above are ok – it is down to what you personally need so I ask the question again – What key challenges do you need help with right now? Remember we often focus on the urgent not the important to take time for you when you answer this.
I am confident that a good mentor can take you further on your journey than you thought was possible whilst protecting one of your most valuable assets – your mind. Try having those conversations that you only have in your head with yourself with a thought partner and see what is possible. Yes peers and relatives can provide valuable information and contacts but I believe that only structured mentoring can provide continuity in the level of support on an ongoing basis—in a manner that can have a directly positive impact on your personal growth and the growth of your business over time.
Here’s why I do what I do – my feedback from a one off meeting to help with clarity;
“After just two hours with Angela I had completely decluttered my mind and refocused in a way that completely restored my energy and passion. I left with an action plan which I had confidence could be executed within the planned and necessary timescale. As a result I was then able to deliver the results required for business success! Thank you Angela for putting me back on track with a couple of extra skills gained that I will continue to apply in the future!”
Do you know the difference between a coach & a mentor? Find out next week when I will also share some tips on the process of how to make onboarding a new mentor easier – clarity from the outset to move you forward faster.