Who they are and how to choose one effectively
By Lama Jabr – Social Media Senior Editor
It is safe to say that everyone has experienced some form of mentoring at some point in their lives. Perhaps you were mentored by a parent, older sibling, teacher or someone in your circle at one time or another. Mentoring can come in many forms. Mentors are typically successful people who are willing to pass on their valuable knowledge to someone aspiring to succeed in their field of expertise. The benefits of a good mentor cannot be underestimated.
A mentor is a person, whether male or female, who shares their knowledge and experience with you. They guide you in the right direction. In turn, you accept their specialist knowledge, advice, feedback and analysis on how to achieve your targets. The mentor encourages you to improve as a person and to reach your goals by constantly helping you to stay focused. They will give you valuable recommendations and support you in managing the obstacles that get in the way of your dreams. They will assist you in dealing with all the aspects involved in your journey towards your goal. The mentor will advise you to appreciate small victories and to handle possible failures. If you have a target in mind, a mentor will be a reliable person to count on should you ever feel like giving up. Mentoring is a highly efficient solution, regardless of your goal and the time required to get there.
Successful Mentoring Pairs
Pairing up with the right mentor can be essential to your success. Over the centuries there have been many famous pairings. These individuals paired up with the right mentor and achieved their goals. Pairing up with the right mentor can benefit you as well. Here are some very successful pairings from a variety of industries (source: The Mentor Hall of Fame)
Entertainment – Actor John Wayne was a mentor to actor James Arness.
Politics – Margaret Thatcher was a mentor for John Major.
Business – CEO of National Cash Register, Robert Patterson, was mentor to IBM’s founder, Thomas Watson.
Business – Andrew Carnegie mentored the first President of US Steel, Charles Schwab.
Business – J. Crew CEO, Millard S. Drexler, mentors Jenna Lyons, a J. Crew Designer.
These are just examples of some individuals that are benefiting from, or have benefited from, pairing with a good mentor.
Mentoring can take two forms: Online Mentoring and Offline Mentoring. Each of these can be divided according to the financial resources you can invest in getting guidance from a mentor. Therefore, we have Paid Mentoring and Free Mentoring.
Paid Mentoring is when you pay a well-known successful business mentor to give mentoring and guidance.
They basically take you under their wing for a fee; give you instructions, assignments, and an action plan. It is extremely important that you take action and complete the tasks assigned to you in the specified time. They check your work, offer advice, and monitor your progress.
However, you need to be extremely careful before committing yourself to a paid mentoring program, whether it’s an online or offline option. Choosing paid mentoring is as important as choosing your accountant or solicitor. Here are some tips to consider when choosing paid mentoring:
Word of mouth – Just because you are new it doesn’t mean you can’t ask around for recommendations. You can join some business forums and ask for opinions. Do your own online research to find out more about the mentoring program you are willing to take on. Ask to get in contact with their previous customers, and check the mentor’s reputation. Look for blogs or websites of people who were mentored by that person. See the details they share and whether they are happy with the results.
Communications – Find out how often your mentor will communicate with you. Do you get one-to- one mentoring? Is the mentoring done through emails, phone calls or meetings? Do you feel this is sufficient for you, or you will need more communication? It’s important to be satisfied about this. Poor communication will not only decrease the overall experience, but it will also affect and delay the outcome. If you’re looking for a good paid offline mentoring program, you should probably look for mentors that focus on meetings instead of phone calls. This way, you’ll be able to express and discuss everything face-to-face and enjoy a more personal approach.
Accessibility – How easy is it for you to get advice when you need it? Will they respond to your questions? Availability is highly important because you may face situations when you need urgent advice. Though the mentor usually won’t specifically instruct you to make certain decisions, he or she will present all the possibilities and the aspects of the issue, including those you may have not taken into consideration.
Free mentoring is available both online and offline, but the approach is quite different. You can get free mentoring from some of the top business gurus. Although it may not be one-to-one, it is an excellent way to get yourself on the right track, and keep you from losing your shirt.
Free Online Mentoring can be obtained for free in many ways. Though most mentors offer paid mentoring programs, they are usually generous enough to offer free guidance too. The most common free methods are:
Newsletter Subscription – You can choose to subscribe to an expert’s newsletter and get their tips and views for free. This is efficient, especially if you have role models that you respect, and you want to know their opinion regarding any topic.
Forums, Social Networks and LinkedIn Groups – You can join online forums, social networks and LinkedIn groups in your niche. Learn from the experts, ask for advice and you will get excellent guidance. This will help you feel closer to your goal, because you’ll talk to people just like you, people who went through the same frustrations and encountered the same issues along the way. You can learn how to avoid the mistakes that others made and you’ll save valuable time.
Master mind groups – Many business people form a mastermind group, where they join forces and share knowledge with each other. You may have the knowledge and experience in web design, but have poor marketing skills. You could join forces with a marketer who lacks web design knowledge and both of you could exchange knowledge and advice. Get the picture? Both of you may have another partner who is an expert in another area such as selling. Forming mastermind groups is awesome. However, it does take time and effort to choose the right people, with the right knowledge and experience.
Free Offline Mentoring is much more personal. This mentor is a person you already know and whose life experience gives him or her the right to guide others. This mentor might already be in the position that you want to reach. He/she may have achieved the position a long time ago and is now an expert willing to share the experience and offer valuable advice. The person could be a friend, a relative, or a boss with whom you have a connection.
Though it’s the least formal, free offline mentoring is effective, mostly due to the fact that you get involved on a more emotional level and you somehow feel that you “own” your mentor. The journey to fulfil your dreams is not only about you, but also about your mentor as you work harder not to let him or her down. The will to succeed can be significantly higher due to the special relationship you have with your mentor and you’ll be more determined to make things work. Making the mentor proud of you, and receiving their acknowledgement of your progress, can also be key motivators.
As you can see there are many different types of mentoring opportunities available. Finding a mentor in any form can be very beneficial to your progression.
In most cases, the mentor has already laid the ground work for you to follow. They have achieved many of the same goals you are pursuing. Mentors can help you avoid the mistakes they made and share with you the things that worked.
Everyone can use a helping hand to enhance their opportunities for success. You can learn from those who have achieved success and know what it took to get there. The sharing of innovative ideas can be a very rewarding experience. The ability to expand your own thought process in pursuit of new and challenging possibilities can be inspiring. Not everyone can be a good mentor. Not everyone can accept good mentoring. But when the right pairing is forged, great things can happen.
Do you have a mentor? Would you consider joining a mastermind group? Which type of mentoring do you think would work best for you? Do you have some tips to share? Can you suggest any dos and don’ts? Your feedback, thoughts and comments would be greatly appreciated. Contact me at: email@example.com
About the author: Lama Jabr Author, Senior Editor ME Business, mentor, speaker and trainer. Founder of Xana Marketing a Digital Marketing Consultancy firm based in Sydney Australia and Founder of Xana Digital Publishing – an Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing Agency helping authors self publish their books on Amazon.