In this third spotlight, we speak with ABM Mentor and ABM Central Chair Taruna Chauhan about her mentoring journey and the different elements that influence her mentoring style.
Taruna shares her insights on how she continues to learn and improve as a mentor, the value of the ILM7 programme and how her involvement with the ABM's mentoring community enhanced her mentorship practice.
To kick off, why did you become a business mentor?
I stumbled into the role of a business mentor without realising it. It all began with meeting ABM Founder Kerrie Dorman at a networking event. She pointed out that I was essentially mentoring others, which piqued my interest. Soon after, the ABM was organising a conference, and Kerrie invited me to attend. I decided to go, and the experience was incredibly inspiring. I found myself drawn to the world of mentoring and saw a great opportunity for me to share my knowledge and help others.
Following the conference, I joined the ABM and formed a lasting friendship with Simon Fordham (ABM Chair), who conducted my interviews. The serendipitous nature of these encounters got me thinking. I was already mentoring, so how could I refine and professionalise my approach? Joining the ABM was an obvious step, as their values aligned with mine.
In your opinion, how does professional mentoring bring value to business owners?
In my experience, small businesses often aren't familiar with the concepts of mentoring or coaching. So, my approach involves explaining these concepts to them and demonstrating how I can assist. Many of my clients are medical professionals who excel in their field but face a significant transition when they become self-employed. In a healthcare system like the NHS, they're accustomed to having support in areas like marketing, finance, and administrative processes. However, once they go independent, they find themselves juggling all these responsibilities, which can quickly become overwhelming.
As a professional mentor, my role is to help them navigate this new landscape. I focus on developing their business strategy, but I also tap into their inner wisdom by asking the right questions. This approach allows them to connect with their true potential and align it with their business strategy. I firmly believe that personal development and business growth go hand in hand; you can't have one without the other.
Very interesting! Could you share a case study to illustrate your mentoring practice further?
Of course. I've been mentoring a client who initially lacked confidence in her new role. Through our work together, she has gained the self-assurance to step out of her comfort zone. She's even challenging herself to take on new responsibilities. Witnessing her growth and newfound confidence is truly gratifying.
What sets my mentoring style apart is the incorporation of various modalities. I'm not just a business strategist; I bring my expertise as an NLP master practitioner and an M-bit coach into the mix. I firmly believe in addressing the whole person, and this holistic approach is a cornerstone of my mentoring practice.
What is NLP Master Practitioner? NLP master practitioner is a study of behavioural psychology. It generates a course of action by studying a person's thought process. NLP is a practical approach to change the way a person thinks, views past events, and enables a different approach.
What is an MBIT coach? mBraining is the process of aligning and harnessing the power of your multiple intelligences (head, heart and gut 'brains') through a series of practical coaching methods and exercises. MBraining is based on the latest research in neurology and cognitive science.
In your opinion, when is the right time for someone to work with a mentor?
In my opinion, the timing of when someone can afford mentoring varies from person to person. When you're just starting your journey, financial resources can be limited, and finding the right mentor or coach within your budget is crucial. It's a solid starting point. As you progress and your financial situation improves, you can explore additional avenues for self-improvement.
Reflecting on my own experiences, I sometimes wish I had a coach from the very beginning of my business endeavours. Back then, I didn't know what I didn't know, and that's precisely why I'm passionate about my current role. I want to help others avoid the same mistakes I made and guide them towards a path of knowledge and success.
As a mentor yourself, do you also seek support through mentorship or supervision?
Yes! I have my own mentors and coaches who support me in different aspects of my life, both personally and in my business ventures. Strangely, before I embarked on my journey of mentoring and coaching, I had never considered having a mentor myself. It was only when I started in this field that I realised the benefits of having a coach to guide me in various areas.
What's important is that I genuinely believe in the power of coaching and mentoring, and I practice what I preach. This, I believe, is a key aspect of my approach. When I encourage those I'm mentoring to seek guidance, I'm not just offering empty advice. I wholeheartedly endorse it because I have experienced the positive impact it can have on personal and professional growth.
You’ve recently completed the ILM7 programme. What motivated you to pursue this qualification?
To be perfectly honest with you, I was initially planning to pursue the ILM 5 qualification, but my mentor persuaded me to consider the ILM7. He challenged my self-doubt, pointing out that the belief that ‘I wasn't good enough for the ILM7’ was merely a story I was telling myself. His advice prompted me to examine the ILM7 more closely, and upon reflection, I decided to go for it. Once again, this shows how important mentoring is!
I’d say my main motivation for choosing the ILM7 was my ambition to engage in executive coaching and work with more corporate clients. I recognised that having this higher-level qualification would be valuable in the corporate world, where credentials matter.
Aligning my qualification with the ABM made perfect sense to me, as I prefer to centralise my professional development efforts.
How would you summarise your ILM7 experience? Do you have any tips for mentors that are planning on pursuing the qualification in the future?
Embarking on the ILM7 journey wasn't a walk in the park; it's very hard work. Balancing this with running my business and managing household responsibilities wasn't easy, but it was worth it.
Effective planning and using the guidance provided by my tutor were key to my success. Also, allotting more time than initially estimated for assignments is essential due to the thorough analysis and research required. It was a challenging process, especially since I had been out of academia for quite some time, having completed my business studies degree back in 1988.
For prospective students, I would advise to be prepared for the workload and plan accordingly. Starting assignments early and conducting thorough research can save you from last-minute rushes and ensure a smoother experience. Also, making the most out of the peer-to-peer mentoring sessions that are part of the ILM7. They really helped me to reflect and fine-tune my mentoring abilities by leveraging the insights and feedback of peers.
So no, it's not a walk in the park, but it's entirely achievable with dedication and planning.
What were your main takeaways from the ILM7 programme?
The practice of reflective thinking, something I hadn't really engaged in before the ILM7.
Throughout the programme, we were encouraged to gather feedback from our mentees. Initially, I found this quite challenging, fearing they might not appreciate my approach. However, I realised that it was essential to ask for their input. Now, at the end of each mentoring session, I allocate a few minutes to enquire about their experience and whether they achieved their session goals. I've noticed that asking specific questions can yield insightful responses and provide me with valuable insights into the effectiveness of my mentoring style. It's not only beneficial for them but also for me in terms of personal growth and refining my skills.
What future plans do you have now that you've completed the ILM7 program?
I've incorporated post-session reflective practices into my routine. It has been a significant learning curve, but I've found it to be an incredibly useful habit to develop. Maintaining this reflective practice is something I need to continuously remind myself to do, as it's easy to forget in the midst of a busy schedule. However, I'm committed to keeping up with it, recognising its tremendous value.
I've also booked my Master MBIT coach training. I plan to explore trauma-based coaching as well to support my clients on a deeper level.
I’m a lifelong learner and everything I do is always with the purpose to provide more value to my clients and support them on their journey the best I can.
As a regional chair, you are a core part of the ABM community. How does the ABM Membership bring you value?
The ABM membership connects me with mentors with diverse skill sets. It's an opportunity to seek advice and collaborate with other professionals. Participating in events and networking with different mentors helps me grow as a professional.
Another great benefit of being part of a community of other professional mentors is that I have the ability to connect clients with the right mentor, who had the right expertise when issues arise outside my domain. This ensures they receive comprehensive and specialised guidance from our pool of professional mentors. So really, it’s all about collaboration to enable the best possible mentoring experience to the client.
Absolutely! To wrap up, what's next for your mentoring journey?
My focus moving forward is to expand my mentoring and coaching services within the aesthetics sector. While my current activities involve more compliance-related work, I am eager to delve deeper into the mentoring and coaching aspect.