Why should I have a Mentor?

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 21:23 -- Mark Sephton

Entrepreneurs survive, grow and thrive. Business men and women become CEOs. Start-ups blossom into accomplished and profitable companies. The common denominator? These people all benefited from having a mentor and mentee relationship. In today’s competitive landscape a mentoring relationship can give you the edge that sets you apart from your peers and your competition. 

What is a mentor?

A mentor is your wise and trusted friend who has committed himself to providing you with guidance and support. They do this so you can succeed and accomplish your life’s purpose. Your mentor will lead you on a journey, helping your transcend life’s challenges and personal hardships to reach your full potential. Becoming the person you were meant to be. The best possible version of yourself. 

Mentors will help you navigate the rocky paths of life by finding the lessons in your experiences and using them to move you forward. Presenting you with unique opportunities to learn more about yourself and assist you in creating breakthrough moments. 

A mentor’s purpose is people first, then objectives. They realise that true change comes from the inside out and to achieve this they must first ignite a fire within you. Your mentor will lead you on a growth quest. 

A mentor implements a dynamic system of advice and support within the context of professional and personal development. Mentors have essentially two functions: 

Career-related function: Establishes a mentor as a coach, who provides advice to enhance your professional performance and development. Roles might include coach or sponsor. 
Psychosocial function: Establishes a mentor as a role model and support system for the mentee. Roles might include counsellor or friend.

Let’s get to the root of mentoring activities. Mentoring, at its core, is sharing your life with another. It is first and foremost listening and then sharing – not only your success but also your failures. 

What does a mentor do? 

A mentor will provide you with:

Support: Success requires perseverance. Kind, compassionate self-talk, self-care and support bolsters you during difficult times (which are inevitable).

Encouragement: A mentor will help you get going on a gratifying career path. Pushing you to achieve more, but will protect you as you move to the next level. 

Inspiration:  Mentors get you motivated by tailoring advice and guidance that will catapult you to new heights. We all need some motivation and some reasoning for doing what we dislike doing, a mentor provides that. 

Accountability: A commitment is made between you and your mentor. Expectations for successful performance are explicit and intellectual strength and career development are supported. 

Feedback: A mentor gives honest and effective feedback. It’s important to first establish a mentor relationship before making a big life change/decision. 

“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction” John Crosby.

Why do I need a mentor?

Do you need help getting your business idea off the ground? Do you feel you are meant for bigger and better things, but don’t know where to start? Are you frustrated with constantly setting goals and then not following through? If you are enthusiastically nodding your head, then you need a mentor. If you need guidance on a specific or general professional area or you’re an entrepreneur and have just started your own business you need a mentor. 

At its most basic level mentoring helps because it guarantees you, the mentee, that there is someone who cares about you, who will look out for you as you grow and learn. 

A structured mentor and mentee relationship may be able to give you the tools and support needed to deal effectively with life pressures. Find a mentor to help with:

Work/Life balance: Set boundaries so your work does not encroach into your home life and vice versa. A good mentor will give you the skills to separate your work and home life. 
Career development: A mentor can help you figure out whether the issues you are facing are simply a temporary situation in the marker or if it is time to make some drastic changes before your business no longer exists. 
Emotional support: A mentor gives you the tools to build and improve your emotional resilience. Mentoring activities is more or less a process of adjustment to the situation. 
Talent development: Mentoring is a very powerful tool for individuals who want to learn and grow, maximising their potential through self-discovery.  
Increased self-esteem and confidence to go for it. One of the primary concerns of a mentor is finding ways to build your sense of self-worth. You’ll be self-assured in who you are and who you’ve been created to be. 

Mentor and mentee relationships helps you see the big picture

The mentor-mentee relationship is one of mutual respect and commitment. You will work with your mentor to develop your passion and interests into tangible and achievable goals. 

“It’s hard to see the picture when you are in the frame”. Mark Sephton

You’ll engage in conversation each bringing their own unique set of perspectives, ideas and expectations to the dialogue. Your mentor will then connect important, yet unexplored, ideas and patterns in our life. Leading to new and exciting revelations. 

Your mentor will help you discover who you are and what your purpose is by revealing important facts about yourself and the effect you have on other people. Helping you focus on the big picturing and avoid being distracted by the details. In a nutshell a mentor helps you get to work. They help you avoid distractions and execute with efficiency by teaching you to:

Protect and schedule blocked out time: Taking time out for you and the key areas you want to focus on. Make it clear to family and friends that you are unreachable during this time.
Chart your energy levels: Keep a diary to track how you feel mentally and physically throughout the day. Then schedule your activities accordingly. For example, you’ll work on problematic aspects during times you have the most energy. 
Don’t be driven purely by feelings: Your life shouldn’t be dictated by impulse. Look at the bigger picture.
Be disciplined in saying no: We get distracted by other people and responsibilities because we have an inability to say no. We feel guilty. Mentors teach you to master the technique of saying no to things that don’t excite you and doesn’t play to your passions.
Invest in the skills of attention: Invest in resources such as books, audio and brain training to help you pay attention and keep focused. 

How to find a mentor

Find somebody that you can relate to in terms of your own influences and skills. For example, if you need focus then choose a mentor that is extremely focused; if you’re lacking confidence, find the most confident mentor that you can. 

Steps to finding a mentor:

Step 1. Know yourself

Take a step back and ask yourself why you really want a mentor. What is the most important to you right now? Plan out what it is that you actually want to achieve from the sessions with your mentor. If you don’t have a clear vision or your career and future, you won’t know what guidance you need or even what mentors can help you. Spend some time getting a clear understanding of where you would like to progress to and clarify your expectations. 

Step 2. Reflect on who to reach out to

Look for candidates. Who do you want to be like? Who do you admire? It’s important that the mentor-mentee relationship has chemistry and trust. Make a list of potential candidates who will be most beneficial in helping you reach your full potential. When you’re thinking about reaching out to a potential mentor think about how they’ve reached success and if that is a process you would want to follow. 

Step 3. Connect with courage

Research the people you are thinking of mentoring you. Get to know everything about them to ensure they will be a warm connection. Begin the process of outreach and have the courage to connect with that person. 

Quick recap

A mentor is a role model who has the expertise and credibility to guide you to success. Together you will build a mentor relationship of mutual trust and respect, where your mentor will act as a sounding board for your concerns and issues and give you continued support. A mentor is someone who helps and guides your development. A person who has your best interest at heart. 

Decide what you want your mentor to support you with. Determine the type of relationship you’re looking for; a formal weekly meeting or more informal coffee chats. Keep your eyes out for mentors and then make your request. Make it clear that you want to learn from them. 

Final thoughts

Mentoring really is an investment in you. You are considerably more capable than your mind allows you to believe. Accept this as fact and then find a mentor to help realise your potential. There is considerable evidence to indicate that expectations of your future do, in fact, tend to create your future. Some of us just need a little encouragement from a wise and trusted friend.