February 1, 2015

Mentors – Get One, Be One

We all have people who we look to as mentors; perhaps we have been a mentor to someone that we know. Mentoring is one of the most rewarding and most giving aspects of life. There are mentors in business or in life in general. Mentoring can benefit both our business and general lives.

Mentors like to work with people who have intelligence and who are listeners and doers. Don’t be the needy person who drives a mentor away with unnecessary calls and questions. Mentors are there to help others who are there to listen and learn. Repeat inquiries may be welcomed by mentors, but progress is expected by the person being mentored. Open, honest conversation is the basis of a great mentoring relationship.

Mentors must learn about the business of their mentees, and the person being mentored must be able to relate their dreams, ideas, and mission clearly, but concisely. Mentors will have lots of ideas about businesses, but their suggestions should relate to the business at hand, not just their own. The business person with whom they are working must be willing to listen, and absorb, and try what their mentor suggests.

If we are going to mentor someone in their business or in their life, be committed. We must also be knowledgeable, as well as authentic. Otherwise we are not a good mentor. Those whom we try to mentor will suffer from our lack of knowledge or our less than enthusiastic attitude. We must be the mentor that we ourselves would want.

Mentors must challenge their charges and encourage them to reach further than they would test themselves if left to their own devices. We should look for mentors, and be mentors, who assist and push others to rise beyond their own expectations. Mentors must also dare their charges to try new procedures and test the market with their own ideas and “what if” thoughts.

We must listen to our mentors and try what they suggest. As mentors we must propose new ideas, preferably ones that we have seen in practice. However new or unproven concepts may serve both individuals well. Mentors will learn from their charges and become better for their experience. Mentors may impart what someone else does not want to hear or even try, but mentors must relay information in an encouraging manner.

Mentors must not do the work of their mentees. Mentors are not an unpaid employee; mentors are consultants. We should not expect mentors to forsake their own business for ours. If mentors are performing the work in a business, they are an employee and not a mentor/consultant and should be paid as an employee.

Mentors are not helping someone to steal their ideas or business secrets. They have their own. Openness in discussions is necessary, but a concern for trade secrets should be addressed. Either party who is operating in a veil of secrecy cannot help the other during the process. If this is a concern, discuss it until everyone is comfortable.

Mentoring can be an important tool for a successful business, and both parties can learn from an honest, open mentoring relationship. Gratitude Marketing is the basis for a great mentoring relationship. Be a mentor or get one; we all benefit from the experience. Please leave me your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

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