No successful business person or entrepreneur in history ever made it big without any support from a trusted mentee.
Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma, and Warren Buffet. None of them could have reached their limelight when they worked on their own. All along their journey, they sought help from experts who are above their games. And so, they succeeded.
Here’s another fun fact to surprise you. Studies reveal that about 71% of the Fortune 500 companies operate formal mentoring programs. That should be enough to compel you to seek mentorship, right? But before we delve deeper into how to find a mentor, let us first tackle the specific benefits of mentoring.
Benefits for the Mentees
- New Opportunities for Development
Experts always say that to succeed in business; you need to improve your skills and gain more knowledge steadily. As your business progresses, your capacity to effectively manage should also cope. By availing of mentoring programs, you’ll have more channels to help you become better.
- Boost Confidence
Having a mentor can give you the encouragement or dose of confidence you badly need when things get tough. Imagine your mentor cheering you up, and expressing full support when your business crosses hurdles. That would significantly boost your drive to get going.
- Expand Your Network
Seeking mentorship does not only give you access to fresh insights and skills but also increases the number of people who can support you. As goes a famous adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
- A More Valuable Network
Mentors are trusted confidants, meaning, they will give their all-out support if you show them why they should.
- Offers Accountability
Pursue a goal that you never really dreamed of. Having a mentor there to monitor or assess how that goal is progressing can give you instant motivation. Such a mentor may be willing to serve as a vent for your struggles.
- Learn from Real-Life Experiences
Whenever you want to know or clarify something, you can always click on Google. But that doesn’t mean that the gist of what you’re delving into is there. A mentor can share what you want to know, not based merely on principles but real-life experiences. That’s a compelling way to tell you that if he made it, then you can do it too.
7. Improve Leadership and Communication Skills. As you interact with people of different backgrounds and experiences, you gradually improve not just your communication skills but leadership skill as well. Not only do you learn new insights and crafts, but your ability to manage your conversation can also help you build such crucial skills you need for your business.
Benefits for the Mentors
Mentoring does benefit not only a mentee but also the mentor. The following statements show you how.
- Sense of Fulfillment
Spiritual and psychological gurus would say that skill or wealth does not equal happiness and fulfillment. These can only come from giving back to other people in need and seeing them grow. That is why many of the happiest people on earth don’t have it all for themselves. They always find ways to share and make a difference in other people’s lives.
- Reverse Mentoring
Even mentors can learn a lot from a mentee. Also, if your mentor is already 60 years old and has been running a successful company, he might not even know what Facebook marketing is. If you’re a millennial, you must have something to share about it.
With the rapidly changing world, some of the wealthiest people in the world are left behind in new knowledge and skills. They could struggle when it comes to technology, digital marketing, cryptocurrency, and other techie concerns. Their mentee can help them cope with that.
- Gives Fun and Pleasure
Research among some of the business mentors in Australia showed that 50% of them do mentoring because they enjoy doing it. That’s why, if you notice, many famous entrepreneurs such as Dan Lok or Toby Robins run mentoring programs, some of which for free. They love doing it.
- Access to New Talents
As hinted in the previous paragraph, not every mentor knows it all. Having a mentee can lead them to discover a potential rising star. For sure, they would love to help their mentee reach the spotlight.
- Improve Management Skills
Sure, being in a top position means you’ve got all the opportunities to manage people and the company itself. But what better way of learning management skills than to do it without all of the standard management attachments. Managing a person in itself is a skill. If you are successful in making that person function effectively according to his mandate, that means you’re also capable of handling other person and the team as a whole.
Tips on How to Find a Mentor
A mentor can either make or break you and your business. Make sure you know and understand the following tips so you won’t fall into the wrong track.
1. Find Someone You Want to Emulate
Don’t just find someone whom you know or someone famous in your niche. Find someone who shares similar strengths, skills, and advocacies like you.
Let’s say you want to start a real estate business. Look for a mentor who’s not only an authority in the industry but who are also pursuing similar ideals and whose perspectives align with yours.
That’s why it usually takes time to find the right mentor. Be patient. If you come across a potential candidate, have an in-depth talk with him. Get to know each others’ strengths, weaknesses, skills, and aspirations.
Take note. Who you choose is who you would possibly become. So choose the right one.
2. Assess the Person
As hinted in the previous paragraph, get to know the person whom you want to mentor you. Subscribe to his blog. Connect with people who know him. Read press releases or features about him.
By knowing the person, you’ll also identify proper approaches to connect with him.
3. Don’t Be Right Off the Bat
Never ask the person to “ be your mentor” during the first meeting or when you’re still getting to know each other. That’s right off the bat, and it’s a big ask. Doing so could make the person think that you’re only after the benefits you can gain from him. That may lead to cut the ropes of connection and eventually, surfaces mistrust.
What you should do is to first ask for an initial meeting, not necessarily a formal one. You can suggest a meeting over a cup of coffee. As much as possible, keep it less than an hour.
Make sure you are also prepared with the questions to ask. But of course, let your conversation flow relationally. Be genuine. Be yourself with a little bit of professionalism and integrity.
4. Evaluate the Aftermath
After the meeting, take time to assess whether you want to spend more time with the person or not.
Did the person say something that inspired you to pursue your business idea? Did she listen promptly to your perspectives and complemented with her own? What were her hidden restraints? Did you feel comfortable with her and the other way around?
Was she passionate to share her ideas with you? Was there a connection made? In other words, did you click on each other?
If not, don’t hesitate to let the person go and seek someone else. You don’t have to force yourself on a self-centred tyrant.
But if your expectations were satisfied, then immediately lay together a follow-up plan.
5. Set a Follow-up Meeting
Once you assessed that the person is whom you are looking for, don’t hesitate to schedule follow-up meetings. That signals to her that you are serious about wanting her to be your mentor.
One way to do this is via email.
For instance, you can say, “ Thank you very much for taking the time to meet with me. I learned so much during our conversation. More importantly, your stories and perspectives inspired me to take this crucial step in starting my business. With that, can we set another meeting to discuss my first moves? I sincerely look forward to your favourable response. Thank you.”
That’s just a brief email sample which you can send. Note: don’t appear demanding or overbearing. Otherwise, that’ll set the notion that you’re just wasting the person’s time.
6. Grow Your Relationship Organically
We sometimes push our gears high on mentoring, setting high expectations and formality. We want to give it labels because it makes us feel elevated, especially if you’re talking with an authority figure. But the thing is, it’s just a relationship.
Just like any other form of relationship, mentoring is organic. It continually grows as you foster mutual respect and trust.
Don’t force it to grow at a pace you want. That will risk a potential mentoring relationship. Be patient because it takes time. It needs to be fully rooted in the ground.
7. Solidify Your Commitment to the Process
As mentioned in the previous paragraphs, mentoring takes real-time and real work. It could take a month, a year, or a decade. What matters is that you genuinely commit yourself to it, knowing that in the end, everything pays off for the better.
Again, it is all about relationships. Mentoring will never succeed if you’re only chasing self-centred goals. Be a friend. Be someone to your mentor.
Eventually, you will begin to understand the essence of being a student, a disciple, or a protege.