There are many benefits to having a mentor, such as gaining a different perspective, expanding your network, finding new methods and strategies or having someone to give you that gentle nudge to make confident decisions. In fact, access to a mentor can make or break a business owner’s chances of success, according to Eric Hippeau, CEO of the Huffington Post.
Therefore, it’s unsurprising that many of the most famous business owners have relied on great mentorship. Household names such as Richard Branson have personally benefited from their own mentor-apprentice relationships. Branson first sought guidance from entrepreneur Sir Freddie Lake as he struggled to get the multi-national conglomerate Virgin Atlantic off the ground.
Whitney Wolfe Herd, Founder and CEO of dating app Bumble recently became the youngest female CEO to take a company public in the United Sates. With Bumble’s share price soaring, Wolfe is now the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire. Wolfe was inspired by her own adviser, Andrey Andreev and now encourages others to find mentors in order to help shape their career via Bumble Bizz.
Award-winning business coach Simon Ellson from ActionCOACH in West Hertfordshire is no stranger to mentoring others or being mentored himself. He attributes much of his success and his coaching practices to his own mentor, global master coach Bruce Wilson. Simon says there are five main things to consider when choosing a mentor:
Values – It’s really important to ensure that your values align with your potential mentor – this will lead to a better relationship. Compromising your values could lead to unhappiness, so it is of utmost importance to make sure you know what they are and what they mean to you. You will learn more from someone whose values mirror your own.
Willingness – Just because someone has found success does not mean they will readily share it with you. Before asking someone to mentor you, get to know them first. Ask if they have mentored anyone in the past and make sure they want to share the information you need.
Communication – Many people are very successful in their chosen field but might not be able to effectively convey what they have done to get there. You will want to make sure that the person you have in mind is able to communicate in a manner that is easy for you to understand. You can do this by observing how they interact with other people.
Personality – Believe it or not, personality is definitely something to consider when choosing a mentor. If you are an introvert and your prospective mentor is the opposite, you might find yourself uncomfortable. Or, perhaps you are looking for someone more extroverted so that you can emulate some of these qualities. This is something you will want to define for yourself before you seek out a mentor that possesses these attributes.
Expectations – You will want to clearly define what you are looking for in the relationship between you and your mentor. This means you should have an idea of how much time you would like to spend with this person and what activities you would take part in. Do you want to shadow them frequently? Would you like to have time to ask them questions outside their professional setting? It is important that you are explicit in your expectations so that you and your potential mentor are on the same page.
“It’s important that you have mastered effective communication to sell your request for mentorship. You should always ask someone to be your mentor in person. If you can’t ask the person to be your mentor, they won’t feel open to giving you honest and straightforward feedback. Ensure you go in prepared. If you’re asking questions that are easy to Google, chances are your mentor will see right through you and decline your offer. Be specific about areas you need advice in and what you’d like from them,” said Simon.
Simon has teamed up with Lincolnshire-based business coach John McHale, also mentored by Bruce Wilson. Using their combined decades of business expertise to coach and mentor just eight selected businesses during Limitless Live – those truly committed to substantial growth in the next 12 months. Limitless Live, the exclusive business growth academy event, will take place between the 13th-15th October at the breath-taking Rushton Hall in Northamptonshire.
World authority speaker and Amazon best-selling author, Philip Hesketh and Steve Judge, international motivational speaker, will be imparting their wisdom at the one-of-a-kind business event. Steve believes that his mentor, ActionCOACH’s Rob Pickering, has been instrumental in getting him to where he is today. Steve uses his own experience as a World Champion in the sport of paratriathlon to create uplifting, poignant and humorous performances to help people realise their own goals. Philip also attributes much of his success – building a £48m business with 17 consecutive years of growth – to his mentor, ActionCOACH’s Chris Fordy.
“Mentors can give business owners the leading edge to take their businesses to the next level and taking time to identify who could be part of your mentor group is time well spent,” added Simon.