Monday, 25 February 2019
You would be hard pushed to find a successful entrepreneur who could not attribute at least some of their success to having had a great mentor. The life of an entrepreneur, whilst exciting and fulfilling, can sometimes feel like a lonely and rudderless place. A mentor can offer guidance, support and a much-needed sounding board whether you are just getting an idea off the ground or looking to scale your business.
If you have made the decision to be a mentee, or have already started down that path, do you know how to get the most out of the relationship so you reap the most benefits?
WHAT TO TALK ABOUT
- The mentor is there to help you, the mentee, improve your performance in the short-term and professional and career development in the long-term.
- Your goals, objectives and agenda are at the centre of this relationship which is driven by the dynamics of you and your mentor.
- Your goals and objectives should be set in the first meeting and should always be the main focus. Certain issues may arise that help or hinder that process and need to be addressed but achieving the goals set should always be at the centre of any session.
- Topics you might include in your goals are:
- Decision making
- Scaling your business
- Dealing with investors
- Getting past a perceived barrier
- Self-promotion and promoting your brand
- Effective networking
- Be clear about boundaries or limitations from the outset to refer to if difficulties arise
- Have periodic check-ins so all views are aired and dealt with sooner rather than later. The key is not to let issues fester.
- As a mentee you should:
- Respect your mentor’s time
- Don’t confuse your mentor’s role with that of a manager
- Take responsibility for your own actions and learning
- Maintain the confidences of your mentor
- State your boundaries from the outset
- Your mentor should:
- Create a safe learning environment
- Deliver on what is promised
- Respect your uniqueness
- Not try and turn you in to a clone of themselves
REVIEWING YOUR SESSION
- What did I think about that session? Why do I think that?
- What did I say or discuss that surprised me? Why?
- What did my mentor say or suggest that I would not have thought of on my own?
- Is there anything I need to mention to my mentor before the next session?
- The mentoring process will encourage you to think in ways you haven’t before and about your development from several different angles, which is an essential part of growth for an entrepreneur.
- Create a learning journal and record your experiences. This will help you reflect on and enhance your learning through writing and thinking about your learning experiences. Your learning journal should be about reflecting and thinking, not just a summary or description of what you did.
When done properly, mentoring should be an engaging, enjoyable and career enhancing experience. As an entrepreneur, having a mentor is not only an opportunity to receive trusted guidance from someone you admire but also a chance for self-reflection and refocusing, essential practices for someone aiming to run a successful and sustainable business.