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The importance of a mentor

The importance of a mentor

Posted on 11/12/2017 by Kirsty Craig

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“We’re here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark.” — Whoopi Goldberg.

There are many different definitions to describe a mentor, but basically it boils down to this; someone who’s been there, done that, got the T-shirt … and is willing to share that T-shirt with you.

Our MD (and qualified Business Mentor), Kirsty Craig has been an SME owner for some 30 years and knows just how it feels when your business starts to take off, and you find yourself wearing many hats – not all of them sitting comfortably.

Invest in a mentor

So, if you want to limit the bumps along the road in business, it’s a no-brainer to be proactive and put aside some time and money and invest in getting yourself a business mentor.  “I believe that if I had had access to a 'me' 25 years ago, I would have got to where I wanted to go with my first business a lot sooner and with a lot less aggravation,” says Kirsty.

It’s worth taking the time here to point out that while coaching and mentoring share similar skills, there is a difference between the two.  Generally, coaching is short-term and is task or skill-based; for example, a coach can help to improve a person’s skills in public speaking, and it’s safe to assume it’ll only take a few sessions to achieve.  A mentor/mentee relationship is generally something longer term that requires trust-building and learning about each other so that mentees feel happy sharing all the issues that affect them in business and be assured that their mentor has the relevant experience to be able to help them overcome obstacles.

Your mentor will listen, evaluate and then use their experience and knowledge to give you an honest opinion and some constructive feedback.  “Running your own show can be quite a lonely place, so a one-to-one sense check with someone who’s been in your shoes can be a real help - quite apart from being a massive relief that it’s not ‘just you’,” says Kirsty. 

A mentor will give you objective help – work with you on the business rather than working within the business.

What's getting in your way?

There are a couple of beliefs that get in the way of committing to a mentor.  Firstly:

“I’m too busy!  I haven’t got time!”

Obviously, seeing a mentor will take time out of your day, and no one’s really got that time when they’re starting out, right? Wrong.  Find the time.  Getting a mentor right at the start will avoid you making costly mistakes that you’ll find are a) difficult to put right and b) really ARE time-gobblers.  So, calm down and think about it.  Is finding a couple of hours a month really going to put your diary into a total flap? Of course not. And it’s almost guaranteed that those couple of hours a month will be the best thing you can do for you and your business.

And secondly:

“I shouldn’t have to spend money on something I should already know…”

Oh, please…  If someone were to say to you that you don’t deserve to be successful, you’d wonder why they were being so horrible (after you’d stopped wanting to put itching powder down their shirt).  Stop being horrible to yourself, do something for you and put yourself in a better business position.  Knowledge is power so go invest in some knowledge!

Click here to find out how!