By the way, as an entrepreneur, what is your take on mentoring? Do you have a mentor or not? Do you understand what to look for in a mentor? How do you select a good mentor? Now, mentoring is basically a joint venture between the mentor and the protégé, aimed at growing and developing the protégé. This arrangement usually covers a reasonably long time period. It basically aims at providing support, guidance, encouragement etc in order to facilitate learning and development. This implies that the relationship has to be close and involving for the desired outcomes to be achieved. But what are some of the considerations that come into focus when you are identifying for yourself a mentor, as an entrepreneur?
- As a starting point, your mentor needs to have more experience, achievement and expertise that you. For your mentor to guide you beyond your current abilities, skills and experiences he or she requires more exposure.
- You also need a truthful and candid person as your mentor. He or she should be able to tell you the plain truth whether you like it or not. A fearful mentor may not do this, but to your detriment. Do you think you can benefit much from a mentor who fears you and hides something from you? Certainly not.
- The readiness and willingness to sacrifice time for you is another vital element of a good mentoring arrangement. Are you in a mentoring relationship where you have to go to great lengths just to meet your mentor? Does your mentor’s body language always indicate that he or she has very limited time for you? If your answer is yes to these then you need to reconsider the arrangement.
- How about building trust with you? If your mentor cannot build and have your trust as a trainee then you may not be comfortable with that mentor. Don’t you think so? I believe you appreciate the cons of a situation where you are working with someone you don’t trust, don’t you? Will you really benefit much in such a scenario?
- Is your mentor a role model and mirror through which you can assess yourself as an entrepreneur? Do you strongly feel on the inside that you should pattern yourself with such a person? Are you proud of your mentor?
- Your mentor’s ability to focus on the desired results is also very important. Imagine you are engaged in a mentoring relationship that probably occupies you for three years, and at the end of it you don’t get the desired results. Won’t you be very disappointed? Will it be worth your while? Your mentor should be able to focus on what needs to be done. He should be able to apply himself to the task in order to get results.
- Are there some significant diversity between you and your mentor? If your answer is yes then this is a good sign. It is not healthy for your mentor to have so many similarities with you because you may not change much in such a scenario. Don’t you think so?
I trust that you should be in a position to get a good mentor with the above guidelines. Your mentor is an important person because he or she is meant to help you grow to a higher level – in this case a higher level of entrepreneurship. Without that goal being achieved, you can as well do without one. Additionally, while searching for a mentor, you don’t need to limit yourself to only people you know. Search also in unlikely places. Don’t take for granted mentors referred to you by relatives, friends and associates. You need to make the right decision.
Best wishes as you search for your mentor.
The Wise Entrepreneur