So far in the Support Series, James and Megan have covered Accountability Partners, Mastermind Groups and Coaches. Sometimes you can find someone who encompasses the best parts of those three scenarios, and sometimes you get to do it yourself.
Our topic: Mentors!
Why get a mentor or be a mentor?:
- Let’s face it. Unless you’re just starting out, there are people who have offered a helping hand or who shared some wisdom with you on your journey. These people are mentors and they are critical in the success of most successful people.
- The value of having a mentor is that you get to learn from someone who further down the road that you are traveling. If you have the right mentor (a wise one), this experience is beyond valuable.
- The value of being a mentor is that you get to guide someone along on their journey and into the arena of business. It’s not very likely that you’re developing a competitor; you’re leaving a legacy. Be abundant with your knowledge.
What does mentoring look like?:
- Some mentoring relationships are formal and some are informal. Conversations can be orchestrated and scheduled or ad-hoc, and the relationship may be short-term/topic-based or long-term and open ended.
- It may be a conversation between master and apprentice, or sometimes between peers with different areas of expertise.
- You may communicate electronically or by phone, but nothing beats face-to-face contact. Even occasional face-to-face meetings will improve remote communication greatly.
- It’s rare for a mentoring relationship to involve the exchange of money, otherwise it would be more like coaching or consulting. One key point though: if you meet your mentor for breakfast or lunch, YOU pay, not them!
How do I find a mentor or become a mentor?:
- Becoming a mentor is easy. Find someone in whom you see potential and assess their willingness and ability to receive what you offer. Not everyone wants or deserves a mentor who is willing to offer themselves up like that.
- Far more often you have to seek out a mentor. Don’t be passive and wait for someone to tap your shoulder.
- Identify people and businesses you respect and admire. Offer to buy them (you pay!) coffee. Be respectful and ask questions. Take notes. Then see if it’s a fit and if they are open to doing it on a continuing basis. Some will, some won’t. Be thankful for any helpful information you get.
- Assess your ability to be a mentor or to receive from a mentor.
- Identify three people you can mentor or who might be able to mentor you.
- Set up the initial meeting and see how it goes. In time you’ll find the right person and you’ll both benefit from the relationship, even if it only lasts a short time.