A business mentor is not just a “nice to have”; they are essential if you want to accelerate your career or the growth of your business. Business mentors make the difference between people who simply advance up the corporate ladder one rung at a time and those who skip rungs.
Studies show that:
– Professionals who have used a mentor earn more annually than those who don’t. Among executives interviewed in one study, 75 percent say mentoring has played a key role in their careers.
– Those with business mentors have higher job satisfaction, productivity, and retention.
So lets take a look at how you can develop great mentoring relationships.
Some of the Myths About Mentorship?
- Mentors Are Stepping Stones:
It’s important to remember that mentors are not stepping stones they are real people. Build rapport, align interests, and figure out what you can give.
- Anybody Can Mentor You:
What you’re chasing is wisdom, not titles. You must find someone with the relevant skills, but in order to do that, you need to know where you are now and where you want to be. That’s the only way a mentor can effectively help you.
What Kind Of Business Mentor Should You Look For?
Ideally you will be looking for someone who is just 1 or 2 steps ahead of you, and you should do this for a couple of reasons.
- A step-ahead business mentor is someone who recently went through challenges that you are currently experiencing.
- They may not be so swamped in their career or business that they can’t give back and they understand the importance of helping out.
The other type of business mentor you should have in your mentoring network is someone who can take a helicopter view of your business or career. This is someone with a wealth of experience and who can see all the mistakes you’re going to make so much quicker than you can see them because he/she has been through it all.
You need this type of business mentor to give you the long-term view. This type of business mentor can help you with challenges such as “here is my career plan for the next 5 years, what do you suggest?”. On the other hand, the ‘step ahead” business mentor can help with much shorter-term challenges such as reaching a roadblock when working on a project.
Reasons Why a Mentoring Relationship Might Not Work
- Lack Of Clarity Around Purpose:
Ask yourself, what will the mentorship do for me? How specifically can someone help me? Most people don’t want to sit there while you “figure it out” so approach your business mentor with a plan of action, and one or two challenges you can work on together.
- Lack of Clarity Around Time Commitment:
At the outset of the mentoring relationship it is important to set the time commitment upfront that works for both of you. This may be a coffee meeting once a month, or a 30-minute Skype call every other week.
- Uncertain Whether You Will Follow Through:
It’s in the back of every potential business mentor’s mind. “Will this person waste my time?” Create confidence in your business mentor by asking them to set you a challenge in the first meeting (i.e. a book to read, a follow up step) and follow through! This is a great way to build quick credibility and this gives a good start to build momentum from.
If you would like to find out more about finding a business mentor click here