Mentorship is by definition an exchange of information between two people or groups of people. It starts a new conversation and creates a foundation for both collaboration and business innovation while encouraging change and transformation.
When I started my first company over 25 years ago, there were no mentors for women by women. It was all blue suits and red ties. Inspiration was gained through a willingness to learn, fuelled by a passion to succeed while making a positive contribution to our communities.
Thankfully, times are changing!
We now live in a gig workforce where our ability to learn new skills changes at lightening speed. Things are constantly in flux and we need to rely on a very strong network to assist with our success.
As an entrepreneurial coach, I have found the most successful coaching relationships are with individuals who have had one or more mentors.
I often refer to these discussions as a positive energy exchange. They usually occur socially through breakfast, coffee or lunch. Based on an exchange of information through experience, expertise and eduction. I believe mentoring is an introduction to experiential learning.
So how do you choose a mentor?
There is no doubt that these relationships are based on a personal connection of trust and integrity. The mentor and mentee have common interests, are like-minded and enjoy each others company. Although there are many opportunities to establish a connection, I have found three common types of introductions:
This may be as simple as meeting someone at a networking event or business meeting. You establish a connection with someone who you feel may contribute to your journey and you meet periodically to share stories.
Introduction from a colleague or friend who creates the opportunity based on a solid connection.
You will find a number of organizations offering formal programs through various business models, Most often, the mentor volunteers their time and is paired with a mentee who is interested in the same industry, product or service.
Each of these connections are effective and at times may work in tandem with each other offering input that builds personal and professional confidence. The duration of the connection is based not only on the discussions but friendships that develop as part of ongoing communication.
An invaluable resource when you may simply have a great idea and are just thinking about an entrepreneurial journey. I have known very successful entrepreneurs who have established life-long friendships with their mentor that follows them throughout their career.
These relationships are the foundation for current and future success.
Our ability to meet and share stories is a very powerful tool in the growth and development of every business. Mentorship is no longer a luxury but a necessity as it provides an opportunity to brainstorm new ideas that contribute to not only the success of our business but lifestyle choices.
Find a mentor…they contribute to your ongoing success!