Mentors have a genuine interest in you. They take a personal stake in your development and your business growth. They provide unmatched guidance, inspirational motivation, and the tough love you need when you’re climbing the mountain to business success. A good mentor will give you more than advice, they will give you access. Access to connections and experience, yes, but more importantly, they will give you access to the most powerful and resourceful influencer of your career: you.
When you work with a business mentor, by far, the greatest lesson is to get up and do the work. A business mentor gives you the encouragement you need to make those first important steps toward your goals. When you take those steps, you get momentum. Momentum is energy. It’s fuel for your inspiration, your creativity, and your drive and ambition.
But what do you really learn from a mentor and how can they help you achieve success? How do you even find a good business mentor? Let’s break it down.
Mentors help you view the world in a different way. They use their experiences in life to help you avoid a lot of the common traps you can fall into in the business world, saving you not only money, but time and energy as well.
This relationship is priceless. The learnings you will get isn’t an experience you can get from a book or a classroom. You must be prepared however, to set any ego aside. If you aren’t willing to listen and be open to taking the advice of your mentor (you don’t need to do every little things they say, but be open to trying most things), you need to question whether it’s worth investing in the relationship.
According to the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), 30% of business owners who had just one interaction with a mentor reported business growth. That number increased to 43% when they had five or more interactions. The Center for Workplace Leadership reports that 71% of Fortune 500 companies have mentoring programs. Sage.com reports that 93% of startups say their success is a direct result of mentorship.
But where are these results really coming from?
Success is amplified by mentorship. In addition to connections, sage advice, and the occasional kick in the pants, a mentor helps you develop the confidence you need to achieve. The business world is tough, having someone in your corner when self-doubt creeps in is a valuable asset.
Successful mentors are connected. They pass those connections along because they know people like to do business with friends. Your mentor is already invested in your personal and business success. They know your strengths and your weaknesses. By that measure, they direct you to the connections that you will be able to serve well. Equally as important, they connect you to opportunities that will challenge you and stimulate your growth.
Emotional intelligence is an important component of business success. Sometimes a deal goes wrong or a meeting strikes the wrong chord. A young businessperson would be well served to find a mature business mentor. They’ve had the time and experience required to develop their emotional EQ. It’s an important skill set to develop for continued business success.
Critical business decisions cannot be made in an emotionally charged mindset. It’s one of the fastest ways to fail. A mentor will show you how to manage your emotional EQ. They’ll show you how to step outside the situation and observe rather than engage. When you’ve got the emotional acuity to observe your own emotions as well as the emotional state of the room, you’re on better footing than most people.
The secret to finding a mentor is not as elusive as one might think. Look for local business networking groups or reach out to people you admire on LinkedIn. You may have to talk to a few people before you find the right fit, but in the long run, it will be worth the effort.
You can also attend networking events and seminars. It’s useful having a mentor in the same industry, so they know the types of challenges you will face, and how to overcome them.
The main thing is to be patient, polite, and empathetic. Understand that mentorship is also a partnership. You want to make sure you vibe with the person you’re interacting with. Mutual trust has to be in place. You want to be able to trust your mentor with your true, personal self. Your mentor has to trust that you will not only listen, but you will do. That’s the best way to pay back a mentor, take decisive action on the advice you’re given.
Investing in a Mentor is one of the best decisions you can make if you want to be successful in business. A good mentor will want to see you grow personally and in your business life. The truth is when you find a good mentor you will be acquiring more than a teacher or coach. You’ll have a someone who will be with you every step of the way.