The Oxford English Dictionary defines a mentor as: “an experienced and trusted adviser”. Some of you might think that your husband / wife, partner or best friend play that role … I’m sure that in many cases that is true.
Having a network of people to share themes and ideas with is critical to business success. Having a mentor who has industry experience that you can learn from is taking your support network to the next level.
What is a Mentor?
The word “Mentor” comes from a Greek myth when Odysseus went off to fight in the Trojan Wars entrusting the care of his son to a friend called Mentor. The word is usually used to describe a sustained relationship between an experienced person & someone who is in the initial stage of their development. The word has become synonymous with a supportive friend, teacher, adviser or wise person.
Perhaps you feel that you have plenty of support, but ask yourself how you would feel if one of your support network had the specific knowledge that you know you need? I have been on a mentoring course and we were taught that the mentoring role is slightly different from that of a coach, manager or trainer – more of a sounding board and the ability to share wisdom.
If your mentor had the industry experience, the business knowledge AND could help you save time by not making the same mistakes others have made, it would be worth an hour of your time once a month to catch up for coffee don’t you think?!
A mentor can help you set and achieve goals. The mentor/mentee relationship should be based on equality, openness and trust. The relationship can take on many forms but in a business environment it is typically for a set time period and is there to provide personal and professional support. A mentor will help you develop and set goals. A mentor uses their experience and knowledge to help you explore what might be right for you and can help you save time and avoid making mistakes. It is all about motivating you and guiding you to find your own answers, rather than telling or advising.
So how do you look for a good mentor? It might be a family friend, a business colleague or it might be me! Your mentor is a person who you immediately trust. Look for someone who is a good listener who has always shown an interest in your training and career. You want that person to offer you support, to be opened minded and challenge you. They might be someone that you could ask for help with networking and introductions if that’s not something that you feel confident with. Have a think about what you need help with.
I am writing this blog for everyone out there, who wants and needs to take the next step in their business but can’t seem to get the clarity – you might need a mentor, to help guide you and your business.