As I wrote 12 months ago, I went through most of 2017 with a good business mentor, and I encouraged every business leader at the time to find a mentor. The same mentor will not be right for everyone, and depending on the stage you are at in your business journey, you may need a different mentor for each chapter or phase. Finding the right mentor relies a lot on you, the individual being mentored, the mentee. So, what will help you find the right person to work with you?
1) Have a clear understanding of what you want to work on and what you want to achieve – is it your career, current role, upskilling, improvement in specific areas, or help in a challenging area?
2) Be teachable – You should be challenged, so how will you respond and what will you do? Be prepared to hear what your mentor has to say, and act on it. Have an open mind. You can’t take offense. Take away and analyse the ideas and conversation to understand what has been said to get the most out of it. Being teachable is about hearing the issues and processing it to improve in a particular area. If you are not prepared to listen and act on the guidance provided then don’t waste anyone’s time.
3) Be ready – being mentored is not a walk in the park. It requires time, effort and commitment. If you are not prepared to invest into your sessions then don’t expect any improvement. You will also be disrespecting the value of your mentor, their time and their skills. You have to be and show your commitment in attendance at sessions, participating in conversations, and in following through with actions.<
4) Find someone you can trust – mentoring is a two-way boulevard, and is as much about you sharing honestly your current state (fears, dreams, aspirations) and personal aspects, compared to just what you can get from your mentor. Mentoring should allow you to reveal and discuss the things not readily considered, as a sounding board, to help you clarify and understand what is the issue. It will not always be the mentor with the answer; they should guide you through by asking the right questions to assist you in figuring out a way forward.
5) What are the values that you expect from your mentor? – Your values should be reflected in your decision on a mentor. Honest, encouraging, positive, disciplined, relatable, trustworthy, and professional are probably a few to start with.
In summary, being mentored requires courage; courage to be open, to commit, to be challenged and work on areas that may be difficult, to get outside of your comfort zone and be stretched. Mentoring is intentional, there is a greater purpose that two people are working toward, mainly for the benefit of the mentee. Mentoring is a valuable process and if done well by both parties, will bring great success. Next month I will discuss what to look for in your Mentor.