Mentoring can be an extremely valuable experience, not only when you’re new to the business world, but right through the life of your business. There is a lot of time and effort involved in creating a successful and effective mentoring relationship and it should never be one-sided. So, what should you expect from your mentor and what should you be doing in return?
Your mentor should:
- Be a sounding board. Sometimes, you need someone to bounce ideas off and mentors generally have more experience and business knowledge, making them the perfect sounding board for all your ideas, crazy, ambitious or even unrealistic.
- Give you guidance. After you’ve thrown ideas at them, you might be expecting your mentor to tell you exactly how you should make those ideas a reality, but unfortunately, that’s not what they’re there for. Rather than give you step-by-step instructions, their role is to offer guidance on what might work – the hard yards are all on you!
- See the big picture for you. When your head is stuck in your business and deep in paperwork, it can be easy to lose sight of why you’re doing this in the first place. A mentor makes sure you don’t get bogged down or lost amongst all the busyness; your mentor keeps you moving forward, even when you’ve forgotten where you’re going.
- Set clear boundaries. Are you unsure when the best time is to call your mentor? Do you have a set time to meet every week or month? How long is this mentor/mentee relationship intended to last? If you have a good mentor, you already know the answers to these. Clear boundaries mean that both of you know where you stand and what’s expected of you.
Your mentor should not:
- Run your business for you. A mentor’s job is a little bit like someone helping you to run a marathon. They’re there to prepare you, to give you advice on what it’s like out on the course, but they’re not going to run alongside you every step of the way and make the decisions for you. You can expect them to cheer from the sidelines but expecting them to take up a role in your business is both unrealistic and unreasonable.
- Tell you what you want to hear. Just like a great friend or a parent, a mentor doesn’t tell you what you want to hear, they tell you what you need to hear. This means that your mentoring journey won’t always be easy, but you can be assured that all of their advice – even if it’s confronting – is for your benefit as well as your business.
- Be at your beck and call 24/7. The reason you have a mentor is because they know a thing or two about business – this usually means that they have their own, successful business to be running. As a consequence, calling or emailing them several times a day will wear thin very quickly. Respect your mentor’s time and be fully prepared for the designated time you spend together each week or month so you can get the most out of them while you can.
With clear boundaries, mutual respect and an enthusiasm for business, you’ll be on your way to creating a successful business mentoring relationship.
Do you need a mentor? Some coaching? Or just a conversation around getting a mentor?
Feel free to book a quick 15-20 minute chat with me and we can talk. Book in HERE.