Mentoring involves sharing knowledge. Transferring skills and going on experience to bring success to business to better, faster, decisions. It’s a relationship that exists in the business context as a personal development relationship. One in which a person with knowledge, skills and experience helps to guide another using that knowledge that skills, or that experience.
Mentoring is about an ongoing relationship of learning of challenge in, and challenging, conversations. It is a shared experience. Many small businesses cannot operate successfully without access to knowledge, skills and experience that the business doesn’t currently have, but needs to access quickly.
One way to achieve that, often the best way, is through a personal relationship based business coach or mentor.
How to choose the right mentor for your business?
Mentoring is a strategic choice taken by a business owner, manager or director when they recognise the need for support .
The first important point in relation to selecting a mentor is that the relationship is a two-way relationship. Just as it is important to find a great mentor it’s equally important to be a good protégé. To do that, it’s important to identify the key areas where you recognise your need for mentoring. This could be an area of the business where your knowledge is lacking. Whilst you will be strong at delivering your product and service, you may, for example, be weak at marketing. Therefore you might seek mentorship in developing a strong marketing strategy.
Whilst a mentor can provide additional skills to the business, they are not an employee. They should not be directed to perform work within the business (unless that makes sense within the mentoring relationship). Mentoring is a way of accessing experience and knowledge about what needs to be done and ensuring that the work is planned effectively and efficiently.
You may also seek a mentor who has specific experience related to a project, target market, or operational issue that is challenging to your business. Challenging in the positive sense, of course, of ensuring that the decisions taken are robust, resilient and reliable.
What should you ask a prospective mentor?
In our opinion there are four key questions to ask a prospective mentor and those are:
- In what ways will the mentor challenge the thinking of the business owner?
- How will the mentor leave their protégé feeling after each mentoring session?
- What specific knowledge, skills and experience do they bring, and why do you need that?
- Will they hold the protégé accountable and feeling motivated to perform more effectively as a result of the engagement?
If you would like to know more about working with a mentor let’s have a conversation – Click here to book a call.