A mentor is an experienced and trusted advisor who, within a developmental dynamic, will counsel and guide you towards growth, greater personal insight and success. So if you're considering asking a mentor to work alongside you for a while, what can you expect from this highly effective working relationship?
I thought it would be helpful to briefly describe the features and benefits of mentoring, for those who haven't enjoyed the process yet. Whilst I concentrate primarily on how mentoring can assist small business owners, the features and benefits are easily transferable to help empower individuals with personal development goals (i.e.: further education, career, health and fitness or family/relationship issues). I offer a free one-hour, no obligation consultation, should you wish to explore how well mentoring will strengthen your personal circumstances; for now though, let me guide you through this brief introduction.
1. FEATURE – Time: By working alongside a mentor, you are allocating yourself time to work on your business, as opposed to in your business. By occasionally stepping out of your two-ring circus and talking things through with an invested but objective mentor, you gain clarity, insight and achieve a degree of chronological distance.
BENEFIT: It is all too easy to become engrossed in the day-to-day affairs and functionality of how your business operates, to take the time to review and measure what's working, and perhaps what is not working. If you always do what you've always done, you're always going to get what you've always gotten. A mentor will ask you questions, challenge your thinking and play Devil's Advocate to ensure you know what you're doing and, more importantly, why – but you need to set aside time to facilitate this. An inch is better than a mile in the right direction, so you can ultimately save yourself time, by taking time. There is nothing to be gained by simply running faster on the hamster wheel.
2. FEATURE – Support: Having a dream, owning your own business and realising your ambitions can be an incredibly lonely pursuit. Having a mentor to support you through the inevitable trials and tribulations, is often the difference between success, failure and/or burnout. No one ever achieves success alone, there has to be a degree of teamwork involved.
BENEFIT: Support can be given in a variety of ways, from assistance and encouragement to active listening and genuine interest. The act of supporting requires the supporter to bear some of the weight, providing relief from the burden. Any structure requires a burden to be distributed equally, if the structure is to be ensured its longevity, and a mentor will help you to carry the load. Quite often it's not necessarily about what you're carrying, but how you're carrying it that creates the difficulty, and if you've always done it this way, then a mentor may be able to show you how to carry it that way, with more success.
3. FEATURE – Experience: A mentor has a wealth of acquired knowledge, skills, training and experience, which they are eager to share with you. Admittedly, their experience may not always be exactly apples for apples, but the guiding principles are transferable and readily adaptable to suit your individual circumstances.
BENEFIT: If you imagine yourself walking across a minefield in the dark, completely unable to see the perils and pitfalls – or a clear path ahead of you – wouldn't you want to have someone on your team with a map, offering you clear and concise instruction?
4. FEATURE – Inspiration: We all have good and bad days. Life is cyclical, and it's healthy to remember that a bad day is the same 24 hours long as a good day; and it too shall pass. However, if you do feel like you're trudging up a mountain through treacle, entirely on your own, having a mentor to infuse your mind and spirit with inspiration will only bolster your campaign.
BENEFIT: Being inspired feels like an injection of pure, unadulterated energy being introduced into the beating heart of your tiring system, and the benefits of this can be golden. Inspiration can lift your chin straps out of the dirt, remind you of why you started and can reawaken your passion. Energy can quickly dissipate, so having a personalised energy source on tap is a powerful force to have working for you, and alongside of you.
5. FEATURE – Empowerment: Negative self-talk is a poisonous and insidious cancer, eating away at your self-confidence and self-belief. It neutralises your personal power, comprehensively reducing your productivity and effectiveness. A mentor will challenge this thinking and empower you to make healthier, alternative thought choices.
BENEFIT: Confidence and energy-sapping negativity, compounded with discouraging self-talk can easily become habitual, and we're often unaware of our own thought and behaviour patterns. A mentor will promote mindfulness and awareness, so you are empowered to think and behave in ways you want to, rather than the ways you have been (through habit), or feel you should be. A mentor will empower you by highlighting and encouraging your autonomy, reinforcing that you do have the power and freedom to make the changes you seek. Having a mentor believe in you can be just the kick up the arse you need to make things happen; the energy will drive you forwards.
6. FEATURE – Accountability: By working through the SMART Goals device (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic & Timely), your mentor will help you achieve success, by holding you accountable for your decisions and actions. Of course you will not be flogged naked through the streets if you do not complete your clearly defined SMART Goals, but if you're truly serious about making change happen, then your mentor has the tools to facilitate that change, if you provide the elbow grease .
BENEFIT: So as we've already established, you have your goals and ambitions, but you can add a great deal of impetus to your efforts by defining How Much & By When? to someone else. A mentor will help you a) track your progress, b) help regain your focus, should you become distracted or discouraged, and c) enquire into the thinking behind your thoughts, choices and behaviours. You will be accountable to your mentor because you can either be successful, or you can make excuses, but you can't do both. If you're serious, work hard and retain your focus, this accountability device will work wonders for you. If you're in the business of making excuses and wasting time however, then be prepared to squirm more than a little during your mentoring sessions. A mentor is a busy and results-orientated professional, and quite disinterested in having their time and energy misused: time wasters need not apply.
I've only listed six Features and Benefits here, in the interests of brevity and to give you an introduction to the wonders of mentoring. Should you like to understand how mentoring has helped others, and their individual realities, then please click this link to read some of my testimonials.
Alternatively, if you would like to claim your free, no obligation one-hour consultation, then please contact me via the contact options I have listed below. I will look forward to learning how I may assist you on your journey.
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