As I sit here today with a blank sheet of paper wondering what in the heck to write about, I receive a tweet on my Twitter feed from someone asking me about what makes a great mentor and how to find one. So, today I’ll share with you some of my thoughts on this topic.
Just so you know, the times that I have experienced the most growth in my business were always the times that I was working with a mentor or coach. Personally, I need that go-to person in my life and business that will keep me accountable and push me way beyond my comfort zone. This is why having a mentor is so very important to me.
You’re probably saying to yourself right now “So then what is the difference between Coaching and Mentoring?”
Well, the short answer is that the two terms seem to be increasingly linked and are often used interchangeably. Let’s take a look at the two…
My informal definition of a Coach is someone who sets specific goals and objectives for you, looks at what you need to do to achieve those goals and works with you on target setting. They also offer professional and personal development.
The online definition of a Mentor is a wise and trusted counselor or teacher or an influential senior sponsor or supporter. They lead by example and are a trusted role model.
Both mentors and coaches charge a fee for their service (unless you are working with a close friend or family member who is prepared to take you on pro-bono) so, be prepared to invest in yourself and your business.
How do I go about finding a suitable mentor?
Some of the biggest questions you need to ask yourself and perhaps others when looking for a suitable mentor are:
Is this someone I aspire to be like? Chances are that if you are frequenting their website and consistently soaking up their information on social media, you look up to this person and like what they are saying and doing.
Do they walk their talk? For example, are you paying for someone to teach you how to build a website that doesn’t have one of their own or taking a course from someone on how to build a Twitter following when they only have 100 followers.
Are they more knowledgeable than I am? You need to be looking for someone that has something to offer you that can take you to that next level in your business. If they only know what you already know…they won’t make a good mentor and why would you pay them for that.
Are they a good teacher? Not everyone learns the same way and at the same rate. Look to someone that fits in with your style of learning and lifestyle. Do you like meeting in person and have that face to face contact or would you prefer something like a mentor who uses Skype (saving you valuable time and travel costs). Or, do you prefer to learn in a group setting and have the added benefit of different perspectives as you learn.
Can I trust them? Do they have my best interest at heart? Best way to get your hands on this info is asking for recommendations. Who better to tell you the truth about your mentor in waiting than someone who has already worked with them.
Are they current? Times have changed a great deal! If they are doing the same thing and offering the same programs that they have been doing for a few years, chances are…they’re not that current.
Do they offer a free consultation? As a mentor and coach myself, I always offer a free 15 minute phone consultation to find out what your struggles are. This serves a couple of purposes. 1. It allows me to find out if I can help you and 2. whether or not we decide we will be a good fit together. If these two areas don’t align, I always offer to refer you to a trusted colleague who might be a better fit for your particular needs.
Do they have a mentor? Hmm…why would you want a mentor that is not being mentored.
Bottom-line, you should be looking to a mentor to get you to your next level or step in your business. Mentoring is something that I would strongly suggest you look into as we move into 2013. Are you courageous enough to step up?
If you have any more ideas on what makes a great mentor or coach? I’d love to hear from you.