Creating a successful mentoring experience
Since it’s impossible to know everything about building a successful business, you may want to consider entering into a mentoring relationship.
Mentoring helps business performance because it allows you to benefit from the thoughts and experiences of a seasoned businessperson. Mentoring is very helpful for entrepreneurs who are capable in certain skills but seek extra assistance in other areas.
What’s the difference between a coach, advisor and mentor? While definitions may vary, a business coach will motivate you to achieve your stated goals. An advisor (or consultant) shares specific insights based on past experience. A mentor is someone willing to teach you by sharing what they’ve learned.
Typically a volunteer situation, mentors and mentees may decide to meet or conference weekly or monthly.
Follow these tips to enjoy a successful mentoring experience.
Create a job description
Define the type of person you seek as a mentor. While the mentor role may be voluntary, prudence pays because you will invest a lot of time and energy into the relationship. Think about what you want to learn and describe the background, personality and availability of your ideal mentor candidate.
Next, share your mentor job description within your business and personal networks.
Schedule regular sessions
To maintain learning momentum and promote consistency, it’s best to arrange regular mentoring sessions. Talk with your mentor to set a meeting schedule that is mutually convenient. Commit to attending each session as planned to discourage last-minute cancelation or postponement.
Come focused and prepared
Be prepared for your session. Find a quiet place to meet or take the mentoring call. Have any support material you need. Consider emailing your questions or topics for discussion prior to the call. Respect the commitment of each other.
After your session, note the actions you want to take and schedule some time to do them. Be prepared to discuss what you have done in your next session so your mentor can help you to evaluate and improve.
Draw a contract
A mentor/mentee relationship shouldn’t be whimsical. Each person should be committed to the relationship and the process, so swap signatures on a simple memo of understanding that outlines a meeting schedule, discussion topics, cancelation terms and confidentiality pledge. Search online for free mentoring agreements you can use to make your own.
Alternately, you may want to become a mentor. People who mentor find themselves benefiting in unexpected ways, including development of self-knowledge and self-awareness, advancing leadership abilities and honing skills such as listening and giving feedback.
What are your thoughts on mentoring? Is it worthwhile? Please share your comments below.
By Roger Pierce