Instances of Mentoring
To state the obvious, many people find it difficult to discover their values and potentials. Under this predicament, the need for a mentor who is successful in his chosen business or career — someone who is physically, mentally, and spiritually experienced to help others discover their values and create a pathway for them to succeed in life — becomes too compelling.
There is hardly any successful man in the world today that was not mentored by one great man or the other. Mentoring helps you to uncover your values and create a pathway for you to succeed in life. Every area of life requires one form of mentoring or the other.
In the business world today, mentoring is becoming more relevant especially to aspiring and growing entrepreneurs. This is because, the learning process offered during mentoring enhances the chances of any entrepreneur to succeed in business and personal life.
For instance, record has it that Bill Clinton was mentored by former president of United States, George Bush Sr. Many other successful people like Bill Gates of Microsoft, Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway, Larry Ellison of Oracle, Robson Walton of Wal-mart, Phillip Emeagwali, including some local businessmen like Jim Ovia, Aliko Dangote, Otunba Subomi Balogun, Fila Adeola, have been inspired by their mentors to achieve such tremendous success in their business and personal life.
If truly all these giants have been inspired and supported by their mentors, then the question is;
“who is your mentor?”
What is mentoring?
Mentoring is a relationship between a more experienced person called the ‘Mentor’ and the other individual called mentee or protégé (usually less experienced) for mutual sharing of experience, skill, and expertise. More often than not, it is the mentee that benefits most from this relationship. It is usually the joy of the mentor to see the mentee develop and achieve progress in life.
Need for a Mentor
To be successful in business today, more people have recognized the need to have an adviser. A business mentor is a trusted person, a confidant and a successful person in his or her chosen field of business who supports the growing entrepreneurs by sharing his/her chosen field of business experience with a view of helping them discover their potential and guiding them to succeed in their chosen business. Mentoring also helps to reduce the incident of failure in business.
Mentoring has far-reaching benefits to any aspiring and growing entrepreneur who is passionate about making it big in business. There are cases where an entrepreneur no matter how hard he tries, he still find it difficult to succeed in business without being mentored and led through the right course. For instance, as a would-be entrepreneur, it would be wrong for you to wake up one day and start a business you know little or nothing about without discussing it with an experienced and successful entrepreneur who has passed through all the odds and difficulties involved in successfully running such a business.
Many of the so-called entrepreneurs today are “condition-turned” businessmen, who suddenly found themselves in business shortly after they are out of job due to restructuring, layoff, or job cut without much preparation. From the way these people go about their business, it is obvious they lack small-business management skills which is the experience, as well as the typical traits that most successful entrepreneurs possess. This is because, some of them do not plan to be entrepreneur before joining the bandwagon.
In view of the fact that these people have no proper transition from paid employment to having a business of their own, they certainly need to engage an experienced mentor to support them in the process of deciding the kind of business to undertake and how to go about starting it on a good note.
Not having a mentor has led many into serious financial problems and debt in the first few years of their operations as entrepreneurs. As an aspiring entrepreneur that is just venturing into business for the first time, it is important to build a solid foundation for expected success in business by seeking the assistance of a mentor to access your skills and ability, evaluate the chances of the proposed business, and come up with the most suitable ways to go about it.
On the other hand, the fact that our have been in business for some time does not mean that you do not need a mentor to guide and support you in the course of growing your business big. You need someone you can regularly discuss your business problems and challenges with and who will be willing to share his skills and experience with you and consequently offer you suggestions and recommendations on the way forward.
As an experienced person, your mentor would also be able to give you necessary information that will enable you to explore all growth opportunities existing in and outside your business framework. In today’s business, being experienced is very important because where an inexperienced person cannot stand, an experienced person can make it exceedingly well there.
Since experience can’t be bought, you therefore need to work with those that have it. The easiest way to do that is through mentoring. Mentoring can improve your business performance because some mentors may be willing to play a more vital role in your business by acting as your board member who will, on a regular basis, measure your financial performance with the set target.
In some cases, it is better than engaging a consultant since mentoring would not only solve your business problems but would also address other personal problems that may directly affect the success of your business.
Apart from the fact that mentoring enhances the chances of entrepreneurs to succeed in business, it also helps the would-be mentees to improve their mental, attitudinal, and critical reasoning ability in making good business decisions. Having a mentor will strengthen you to build self-confidence and high esteem to face challenges as you grow in your business and personal life.
Mentoring also helps entrepreneurs to work successfully with other stand, an experienced person will, since even go as far as assisting their mentees to source capital for their business deal through referrals. Usually, the benefits of mentoring develop overtime.
Since mentoring is a long-term relationship, some of these benefits are enjoyed as the relationship develops further. However, before a mentee can enjoy these, he must demonstrate a high level of discipline and honesty because the relationship is built on trust.
I have observed that most young entrepreneurs find it difficult to approach the people they like for mentoring relationship because they lack the boldness to do so, similarly; the experienced ones often feel reluctant to accept requests for mentoring from the upcoming ones. Some of the people I have spoken to claimed they turned down the request because they are not sure of the character and the attitude of those asking for such favor.
However, some experience people still accept to mentor the younger one on the condition that the mentee will demonstrate that he or she will be of good behavior and unquestionable character bearing in mind that mentoring relationship is built on trust. Hence, any entrepreneur seeking the assistance of the older and successful ones is expected to exhibit discipline, honesty, and good reputation as virtues. When you are seen as an honest and obedient person, it will be easier for you to get people to accept to be your mentor. However, the choice of who to have as a mentor is yours.
More often than not, people choose someone they love and who had impacted positively on their lives. For instance, such a person could be one of your clients, a relative, a friend to the family, a former boss, someone you have met in social or business event, someone you admire from religious point of view, a senior professional colleague, or someone you admire or read about.
I remembered some years back when I am learning how to blog that my first mentor was a popular American Self-help Blogger, Steve Pavlina, who had inspired me through his writings. Though I had never met him before, I saw him as a role model who could help to bring the best out of me.. Before I discover him, I had in mind the set of characteristics that I expected from my would-be mentor. Having these sets of predetermined criteria will give you the opportunity to approach someone that best fit your choice bearing in mind the role such a person would be playing in your life.
Not all successful businessmen can be a good mentor, you have to be selective, and let your criteria went beyond financial success. In making up your mind, you have to make sure that the person of your choice has a passion for human development.
Qualities to Look for in a Mentor
Based on my experiences, there are typical characteristics that are common to most successful mentors, which can form part of your criteria as you decide on who should be your mentor. For instance, the person of your choice must be willing and generous to share his idea and time with you.
From experience, someone that is always busy may not be a good mentor as he/she may not have the time to attend to you when you need him/her.
• A good mentor must have a good sense of humor; though this is a business relationship, it should still be filled with fun.
• He/she must be someone you can trust. Trust is the only magic that makes such a relationship last.
• He/she must be caring and courageous. Caring people are always motivators. When times are hard, you need a motivator to encourage and push you to move on amidst your challenges.
• A mentor must also be knowledgeable and experienced in your area of business.
• Finally, he/she must be someone that is mentally and socially mature and stable.
Meeting Your Mentor
Having set all the criteria, the next thing you have to do is to make the move to contact the person. Sometimes the person of your choice can be someone who has been helpful to you on a smaller scale in the past. Do not take this for granted by assuming he or she is already a mentor. You must make the move to ask him/her out for a mentoring relationship stating categorically how you want him to mentor you. There are several ways to contact someone of your choice.. You can write to him that you need him as a mentor, ask for referral from someone that is close to him/her, or book an appointment on the phone or by e-mail asking him to grant you an audience for such a discussion.
Be reminded that age and gender are not barriers to mentoring relationship. Anybody can be your mentor as long as you are sure the person has the right knowledge and experience to impact on your life.
When you finally consider someone suitable and have written to him or phoned him seeking his audience for a discussion, at the first meeting, explore the opportunity of introducing yourself and your background, then propose politely to him/her than you want him/her to act as your mentor. After the meeting, no matter what the outcome of the meeting is, summon enough courage to send a thank-you note to him/her.
If he/she finally accepts to be your mentor, endeavor to maintain the relationship the way he/she wants and be patient to learn about him/her anytime you have the opportunity to do so. At every meeting, keep to the schedule and ensure you manage his/her time well….
You Need a Mentor..
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