The Not-So-Secret Secret of Successful Leaders: Mentorship

Want to know one of the secrets of successful leaders?  

Mentorship! Coaching.  Consulting.  Accountability Partner.  It doesn’t matter what you call it, you need it!

If you are brand new to business, you need a mentor. Most people think they just luck out and a good mentor will fall into their lap.  But in actuality, you need to ask and make an effort to find one that fits your needs.

Here are a few tips for finding a mentor:

  • Avoid close friends and family, they usually can’t see the big picture of the business and tend to be more of a cheerleader than a mentor.  Cheerleaders are very important, just not for this role.

  • Seek out someone who you admire for what they have accomplished.  This does not necessarily need to be as a business owner, although it helps.  

  • Make the invitation formal.  This is not something you ask via text or chat.  If the person is local, ask them out for coffee and ask if they would be interested in mentoring you. If they are not local, you can write an email.

  • Be specific about what you want.  Do you want someone to have weekly meetings with?  Or someone you can talk to as needed? Make sure they understand the time commitment you are expecting.

  • Give them time to think about it.  And don’t be bummed if they say no.  Appreciate that they valued the request enough to turn it down if they are unable to give you what you need.

  • If you don’t have someone to ask, consider a hiring a coach.  The nice thing about a coach or consultant is that they are being paid to help you so you will never feel guilty about asking for their help.

Additional benefits of having a mentor include:

  • Putting into words what you are struggling with.  This often brings clarity.

  • Having someone to run ideas by- make sure you have a mentor who will be TOTALLY honest
    (unlike that family or friend who just wants to cheer you on! Important, but for this role)

  • Creating accountability

  • Combating the isolation that is often common with business owners

  • Being able to make decisions based on wisdom and experience beyond what you’re familiar with on your own

If you have been in business awhile, you still need a mentor…
but you can also BE a mentor.  

Mentoring someone often benefits you as well. Teaching is one of the best ways of learning.  If you are interested in being a mentor, offer your time to a newbie. Give them time to think about it and encourage them to make sure YOU are the right fit for their needs.

Mentoring can be received and given freely or you can hire someone who focuses on your particular needs.  Think about potential mentors in your life today, or if you can’t think of anyone, do some research using the tips above to guide your search.