Every entrepreneur needs someone to look up to and to follow the pattern set by those professionals. Forbes says, however, that the current generation of entrepreneurs needs a lot more mentoring than they are currently getting. Mentorship offers a lot of help to entrepreneurs, from helping to get their head in the game, to advising them about projects and ideas that they might have missed on their initial glance. Having someone who offers moral support but isn’t afraid of letting you know that you’re headed down the wrong path is essential to a businessperson’s future success. But having the confidence that the person that holds this position is themselves successful and skilled in the field adds a whole new depth to that advice. Not all successful entrepreneurs make for good mentors, however. Some people are better at doing than teaching or aiding. To find a mentor that you should listen to, there are a handful of factors you should hold as a priority.
Factor 1: Challenging Yourself
No successful businessperson rests on their laurels. L&D Daily Advisor mentions that instituting a challenge to a mentee can help to build the relationship between them and the mentor. In any facet of industry, being able to open one’s mind to possibilities and potential is priceless. Many times, being able to see the obvious is not enough, and by assigning a challenge to a mentee, a mentor can force them to think laterally about a problem. The key here is finding someone who doesn’t just tell you the answer to your question. A mentor that’s worth listening to helps you figure out the solution yourself by guiding you to where it is, but not telling you directly. We learn best from ourselves and having a mentor that aids in that endeavor is of immense help.
Factor 2: A Two-Way Street
Mentorship isn’t just about you siphoning experience and skills from the mentor but instead building a mutually beneficial relationship between the two of you. You shouldn’t think about this as a transaction where you offer something and get something back. What you should consider is that while the mentor provides you something that you can’t get anywhere else, you might want to think about what you bring to the table in this relationship. Just because you’re young doesn’t mean you can’t offer anything to their development. Take notice of what your mentor can and cannot do and see where you can fill that niche for them. Sometimes, some mentors want you to throw your all at what they’re trying to teach you and grasp their expertise since passing on their knowledge is their number one goal.
Factor 3: Experience
One of the critical aspects of finding a mentor that should be considered early on is how experienced this mentor is. Asking how much they have done and where they have worked might seem like trying to fill out some résumé, but in essence, that’s what you’re doing. You’re trying to find a mentor that knows the ropes so you can learn from them. Unlike an employee, however, a mentor’s accomplishments ought to speak for themselves. Knowing what you don’t know helps you to figure out what questions a mentor can answer for you. Mentorship is a bit like teaching, and not everyone can be a good teacher, even though they may be skilled professionals themselves.
Factor 4: Finding the Hidden Gems
Not everyone who is a world-class mentor advertises their brand on Facebook or LinkedIn and encourages you to buy bitcoin. Many of those people are probably unconnected. Their success shows in their bank accounts, but there is no need for them to show off their wealth and prestige because they are secure in the knowledge that they are a leader in the industry they chose to be a part of. Inc notes that having a mentor that is respected in their field can help a mentee gain perspective on how that person handles their setbacks and their successes. Contacting these people to be a mentor increases the chances of them considering mentoring you, just because there aren’t a whole lot of people trying to get their attention. For people who build a brand around their mentorship, the chance of being noticed is almost zero.
Factor 5: Reach Out, No Matter If Rejection Follows
Taking a chance on a great mentor is just that – taking a chance. Like most worthwhile things in the world, there is no guarantee that a person will agree to be your mentor, but there is no harm in trying. Psychology Today mentions that the fear of rejection is among the deepest of all human concerns that everyone harbors. As an entrepreneur, you must be fearless, not only in your innovation but in your search to be better. This means that you must never let fear run the decisions you make, regardless of if that decision is in business or when looking for a mentor. Keep in mind that many times rejection happens from someone you try to get in contact with, it’s usually because the timing of communication was terrible. Don’t blame yourself if discussion falls through; it happens to the best of us sometimes.
The Tenets of Good Mentorship
Across many fields, the thing that sets great mentors apart from the rest of the pack is their ability to communicate, their patience and their dedication to seeing their mentee succeed. For any mentor that you do decide to choose, these factors will play a significant part in the growth and development of you as an entrepreneur. Many mentorships eventually become friendships. When the relationship becomes casual, as friends, it offers a whole new facet to explore. Successful people tend to gather other successful people around them. To see success in your life, the choice of a mentor is one of the most important decisions you’re likely to make.