The Holy Trinity of Business Mentoring
Posted by Ellisa Brenneman on November 23, 2009 in Business Start Up Advice [ 0 Comments ]
Whenever I’m discussing my philosophies on the purpose of hiring a mentor service, I sometimes notice an elephant in the room that no one wants to address: Just what the heck IS a mentor anyway? Sometimes it slips my mind that there isn’t a clear definition of what these types of services are for in business. My own personal definition of a mentor is pretty much the norm for the business world, but should probably be reviewed, regardless.
I’ve always felt that a mentor is not there to buy, sell or negotiate. A mentor provides a service. In essence, mentoring is simply helping someone else play their cards right and become successful in their home business or other endeavor. They’re not there to do anything for you, but rather listen and advise you based on their own experiences. Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, etc, etc.
So that’s my definition of a mentor and it’s important to note that this brand of mentoring has been a business practice for awhile now. Ask any person involved in a successful business and they’ll admit that using a mentor was a standard business practice for them at some point.
Something I’ve noticed that people don’t keep in mind about mentors is that benefit in this arrangement to them is the experience, not the monetary reward. When you’re working in the capacity as a business mentoring advisor, you’re there to share what you’ve learned in the trade, but also to try to learn a few more nuggets along the way. After all, what good is information and experience if you don’t share it with someone who needs a mentor down the line?
There is a “holy trinity” to being a successful a mentor. You’ve got to think in terms of a trainer, a financial expert, and a technical advisor if you want to help someone start their business.
You’re there to motivate them and keep them focused on their goals for success. They’re going to become discouraged and they’re going to need to be built up by someone that isn’t just placating them. You’re there to keep them meeting their own personal best so that they can push through every failure and not be enamored with every minor success.
You’re there to rein them in when they may get a “pie-in-the-sky” financial scenario that isn’t feasible. It’s extremely simple to think that the right office or a large staff of employees or a brand new delivery van with all of the trimmings will be the best tools for their business. Maybe these items will be, but making sound financial decisions with an objective voice of reason works a lot better than going with your first gut instinct.
You’re there to get them the tools to start and grow their business in the best possible fashion whether that’s incorporation documents or the best tools for search engine optimization. You’ll find out that it’s not a matter of the client being ignorant, but uninformed about what’s available to them in terms of resources and options. Being a helpful, knowledgeable, and quick with a recommendation should a need present itself will make you an asset.
You’ll wear many hats in this type of job, but these are the three that matter most.