In our new 'Reality Check' interview series, time and time again the concept of asking for help comes up; no matter what stage of life you're in, or experience you have. So, this week as well as encouraging you all to SHOUT FOR HELP, we want you to consider the benefits of a mentor.
1. What is a mentor?
A mentor is someone who brings out the best version of your personal business brand to help you set goals and to feel more positive about these goals on days when it's feeling tough. In an Industry that is based on relationships which can often feel hard to build (especially right now), a mentor may also make introductions to enable relationships to build more easily. People often talk about the three C's of mentorship, and these can vary quite widely, but we found a short article which gives an example of the three concisely and clearly.
2. Why do you need a mentor?
Friends and family are amazing for boosting your confidence in yourself (as well as occasionally tearing it down!), but finding a cheerleader that is entirely separate to your personal life is invaluable. It is about finding someone who inspires you, and allowing them to share with you what they have learnt along the way.
3. How to get a mentor; Urgh, it feels like dating!
There are plenty of schemes on the internet that allow you to get a mentor, including MicroMentor, but we'd actually recommend a more personalised approach. A mentor is about finding someone you can share your passion with on a productive and personal level so first consider what your goals are and also what sort of person you might like to be inspired by. When you approach someone to be your mentor, make sure that you appreciate the commitment you are asking from them; don't be offended if they feel that they can't help you and also be prepared to put in the work! People often don't ask others to be their mentors because they're too proud to ask (or too scared) but remember that being asked to be someone's mentor is a compliment, so don't let your own self-doubt hold you back.
4. What a mentor is not
A mentor is not someone who you are going to ask for a job. You may want to work for them but don't let that be why you approach them in the first place. There are some schemes out there that offer a paid mentorship schemes, BE AWARE. Most mentors we know do not expect to get paid for their time. If a mentor asks to be paid, this shifts the relationship to that of career development and coaching. This is equally as valuable but it's not the same as a mentor. Here are a few people who specialise in our Industry in career coaching, training and development. The investment you'll make with these specialists will be invaluable.
Kym Barlett, Career Change Catapult
Vicky Graham Coaching
Mandy Cresswell, Training and Development
5. Being a great mentor
It could be tempting, once you have found someone who is inspired by your work, to try and mould them into a better version of your previous self. STOP. Being a mentor is about helping people become who they already are, not make them more like you. A great mentor rises by lifting others; you can do this, not by walking ahead of your mentee and showing them how you did it, but by walking alongside them, and showing them what you can do in their circumstance. Forbes have written a great article about the five things you can do in order to be a great mentor, have a read here and if you need something to get you in that leadership mood, here are 25 songs to make you feel unstoppable!
7. Something to read
If you'd like some advice from 'the best in the world', Tim Ferris' 'Tribe of Mentors' is a fascinating read, with leaders from across all industries giving their short piece of life advice.