The truth is often stranger than fiction.
A while ago there was a story in the newspapers about a woman in Belgium who set off on a 38-mile journey to collect a friend from the railway station in Brussels and ended up two days later in Zagreb.
She stopped for fuel more than once, passed road signs in many different languages and (probably) passed a number of border controls.
She didn’t question the instructions from her Sat-Nav. She had set out on a path, and she was going to follow it – no matter what.
This woman continued on her journey – FOR TWO DAYS – without stopping, questioning what she was doing, sleeping (?!) re-setting her directions or …
…asking for help and advice.
If I Work with You What do I Get?
One of the most frequent questions a professional Business Mentors gets asked is “If I work with you, what do I get?”
Well, for one thing – unlike that woman’s Sat-Nav – a Business Mentor will tell you if they think you’re going in the wrong direction.
So if you are thinking of working with a Business Mentor, here are three things you should consider first.
Not All Mentors Are Business Mentors
Throughout our lives, both personal and business, we look to different people at different times for support, advice and guidance.
A mentor is someone we identify as having a skill – or having had an experience – that can help us understand or do something that we don’t know about or have not previously experienced.
To get the most benefit from a mentor, they have to have been there, done that and bought the T-shirt.
So, how does this apply if you are looking to identify a Business Mentor to help you start-up, scale-up or develop your business?
Some questions to ask, would include:
Have you ever started and run your own business? Was your business anything like mine? Have you had any experience of working with businesses of my size, in my sector etc.
A professional Business Mentor must understand the context of the business they are mentoring.
There are many business advisors, coaches and mentors who have never experienced – first hand – the issues and frustrations of running their own business.
The final thing I would be looking for is proof of credibility. Reviews, testimonials and case studies are a great place to start.
And then there are qualifications and professional memberships.
Would you be more comfortable putting your trust in a Business Mentor who has proven to their peers that they not only know how to run their own business but also how to use that experience authentically and ethically to help other businesses grow and flourish?
So, maybe a member of the Association of Business mentors would be a good start?
Be Clear About Your Expectations of Your Business Mentor
A couple of definitions of a Business Mentor are:
“A brain to pick, an ear to listen and a push in the right direction”
“A spare pair of hands, with a brain attached”
What you should expect from a professional Business Mentor should sit somewhere in the middle of both of those definitions.
Your Business Mentor won’t do it (whatever ‘it’ is) for you.
When I speak to prospective clients I describe what I do as guidance – with a bit of tutorial thrown in.
A Business Mentor is there to help the business owner acknowledge the truth about what is happening in the business and support them to navigate their own path to success.
The best piece of advice?
If you are considering working with a Business Mentor you need to have a good, long conversation with them first:
Make sure the ‘chemistry’ is right
Make sure their experience is the right experience to help you
Get them to explain their method of working – what they will and what they won’t do – and is it right for you
Remember, Business Mentoring is a two-way street
Consider the Value of Working with a Business Mentor, Not the Cost
Going back to the story of the lady and the Sat-Nav - it resonates because she didn’t ask for help or directions. She continued on her journey – not questioning – probably, just hoping things would work themselves out.
In life – and in business – this is definitely not the best course of action as it rarely delivers a positive outcome.
Working with a Business Mentor is an investment – an investment in yourself and the future of your business.
So, is a New Sat-Nav or a Business Mentor the Right Choice for You?
Get your business Sat-Nav out. Take a look. Are you going in the right direction? Are there obstacles and road works up ahead that you are going to find it hard to navigate?
We all need to pull into a business lay-by regularly to make sure we are going in the right direction, will arrive on time and have enough fuel to get us there.
If there are any problems it is good to know that we can buy-in the ’emergency’ support we may need to be towed and repaired at the nearest garage. It is even more reassuring to know that we have a subscription to an emergency service that will swoop in and rescue us if we need it.
That is what you need to know if you’re thinking about working with a Business Mentor.
Take a look at the Member Directory to see if there is someone who can help you on your journey