Mentoring 101 – Picking Your Partner
September 25th, 2017
Small business owners run a perpetual to-do list, constantly checking things off and adding more just as fast. In doing what needs to be done in order to keep the business afloat, self-development and improvement can be overlooked.
Choosing a mentor is the best way to ensure that you continue to grow, learn and progress along with your business.
The most successful owners realize they don’t know everything. It’s important to play to your strengths while recognizing your weaknesses so you can select a mentor who compliments both.
Not sure how to find a mentor?
If your weaknesses are concentrated in the area of understanding what you need to do to create an awesome business, then you should have a chat with us!
However if your challenges are more technical or of an operational nature, then it might be a good idea to join up with a professional or industry group, attend seminars and find ways to get involved in your community.
This is the easiest way to be surrounded with other like-minded business people who are generally willing to act as a teacher to other self-starters.
Start by shadowing your selected mentor to get an idea of the day-to-day responsibilities. This is the time to ask questions and take notes but be mindful of the fact that they are running a business and generously allowing you to gain valuable experience through their eyes.
In any business, advice flows from a number of outlets – family members, friends, colleagues – most will have something to say. It’s best to focus your attention on those who are where you want to be. They have been there, done that, after all.
Business mentors are there to answer questions and provide perspective, but like any other type of coach, they are also there to boost confidence and provide support and encouragement.
Be sure to choose someone who you respect, with similar values and who you feel comfortable with. Go with your gut instinct on this one and select a mentor who will challenge you to continue lifting the bar.
Additionally, being able to challenge your mentor is how you encourage collaborative learning. It allows your mentor to also gain something from the relationship. If your mentor intimidates you, you will not enjoy the fruits that this symbiotic relationship should provide.
Remember that securing a mentor is much like any other acquisition – you must consider the return on investment. The relationship must be constant, the impacts tangible and the developments obvious.
As a rule of thumb, if three months go by without much progress, it may be time to consider a change.
Mentoring is not just for the business owner-consider developing a mentoring program within your business which can help to boost employee growth and satisfaction, cultivate a positive culture and improve morale.