Mentors are not the same as business coaches. Mentors are those who have travelled the path before you, likely in another industry. They offer sage wisdom and loving nudges for growth. They tend to be long-term relationships that grow in depth over time. Coaches tend to be for a shorter period of time, enough time to learn the skills and start to see results. Coaches tend to be specific about the skills that they train. Mentors tend to have no formal training to be a mentor, just a desire to share their learning and expertise with another person to improve their successful experiences.
Why is finding a mentor so important? A mentor has been there before you. They can offer advice and be a sounding board at critical times in your career. They often offer hard-to-find advice and key understandings to help shape important decisions. They can often make introductions to important people you may need to know and open doors that, without them, may not have been possible. They offer career guidance from experience and learning.
Finding a mentor is so important to the longevity of great success. It is also challenging to find a mentor if you feel you don’t have one already. The best relationships have a natural match to them. They are not forced. Here are a few suggestions for where to get started:
1. Look for networking events.
2. Attend entrepreneur hotspots.
3. Look inside your professional circle – former bosses or coaches.
4. Family friends.
5. Small business development centres.
What to ask a mentor when you find one? This is a delicate process. These relationships take time and are built on trust and mutual respect for one another. Take the time to find out more about their journey. Be ready to listen and ask if it is okay to take notes. Think about questions to ask that are thoughtful. Share a bit about yourself and your goals. Always leave time and space for them to share their wisdom along the way. Mentors are one of life’s greatest gifts. They have so much to share and help us understand. Always share your gratitude with your mentor. They are a treasure.
As always I am here to help you get to the next level in your business.