Posted: Fri 21st Oct 2022
For those of you who have had mentoring in various aspects of your life and work, you probably have an answer to the above, and will maybe be nodding your head thinking about the positive and maybe not-so-positive outcomes during the time spent being mentored.
Just to throw this into the conversation - I discovered that the concept of mentoring goes way back to the time of Odysseus, in 8th Century Greece, where the character of Mentor nurtures and supports Telemachus, Odysseus' son.
It further became common practice in the Middle Ages, eventually beginning to be recognised as an important tool in the development of business executives in the 1970s. The need for mentoring increased over time, and it is now perceived and accepted as a relevant way to help with individual or group growth in all aspects of life, business, and non-business.
Think of all the people in your life whom you have spent time with, chatting, sharing, arguing, debating, having your hand held to help you realise who and what you are and what you want: uncles, aunts, best friends, strangers, professors, teachers, managers, gurus, professionals in given fields, the list is endless.
I’ve been coaching in the business and non-business environment now for some time, and am finding more and more of my clients are coming to me for mentoring.
It’s that time in one’s life, just on edge, the brink, the tipping point. Your intuition is telling you whether you are on the right path or not, but your experience in your given field may be limiting you from progressing.
You need some more substantial help to give you just that little extra nudge and guidance to enable you to develop and evolve your dreams into reality so you can fly.
A mentor is usually a successful individual who can share their wisdom and experiences, to provide insights and guidance as their mentee encounters challenges along the way.
They don’t have to be experienced in their mentee’s field but need to know how to navigate the business in general. The relationship between a mentor and a mentee can continue for as long as the mentee needs.
Let’s explore the role of a mentor:
willing to help and act as a guide
offers advice, guidance, and support
helps you to understand how to run and improve your business
stays in regular contact with you through meetings, telephone calls and emails
A mentor also:
increases your business knowledge and experience, and improves your business skills
helps you to understand how to maximise your business performance
chats through your problems and helps you to improve your problem-solving and decision-making abilities
helps you to build your confidence and leadership skills – helps you to bring out the leader within you
helps you to widen your network of business contacts, and introduces you to their known financial institutions, accountants, bookkeepers, manufacturers etc.
With some of my own clients, we have spent a lot of time looking at their own personal development to enable them to go beyond what they think they are capable of; the imposter syndrome that lurks around the corner, what holds them back, opening their minds to show them the font of knowledge they already own and how to utilise that further.
There's more - a mentor ALSO:
develops key business skills – identifying which ones will be most beneficial for the type of business involved
sharing tips from a mentor’s own practical experience
helps develop new products and services and how to market them
helps develop a stronger and more sustainable and more profitable business
maximises business performance
By now you may be thinking that you could go online and read up on all of this.
Yes, you can. For me, it’s the void that is created by the online world of information. I want to talk to someone who has had lived experiences and can understand all those processes they have been through and so can help me and in many ways reassure me that I, the mentee, can also be successful.
The relationship between mentor and mentee, when both parties work together effectively will provide:
someone to trust, share and understand when you are feeling anxious or uncertain
an external and independent perspective for decision making
an opportunity to be challenged and not always be agreed with
an open space to explore your wildest and most creative ideas
have any stake in your business
provide you with legal advice
directly market your business for you
develop your strategy or business plans – you are ultimately responsible for any decisions you make around this
A mentor is:
a treasure chest of experience and knowledge who is willing and able to share with you
a supportive guide to aid and direct you on your chosen path but will challenge you to get the best from yourself
arm you with a variety of tools, both business and personal, to ensure your success