What no one tells you about Mentoring

Have you ever finished a project and thought to yourself,“If I was to do that again, I’d be able to get it done quicker, better and at half the cost!”The thing is, you only know how to effectively do something once you’ve done it. But what if you could have known how to do it before you even started?

If you want to know the quickest way to success, you find someone who is the authority in the field you want to be successful in and ask some of the following:

·      “How did you do that?”
·      “What lessons did you learn that made the process easier and smoother?”
·      “What would you do differently?”
·      “If you were going to start today, what tools, mindset and techniques would you use and why?

The answers to these questions (and many more) can be discovered through mentoring.

All successful business people have various mentors over different parts of their journey to advise, coach, guide and help them reach their goals. Having a mentor will enhance your personal and career performance - ten fold.

A mentor has been exactly where you have been. They have firsthand experience of the challenges and can show you how to get from where you are to where you want to be.

A mentor gives you a different perspective and helps you see the forest from the trees. The bigger picture a mentor gives you allows you to see new opportunities, an easier and faster way to get to your goal and provides you with confidence that you can achieve what you want.

If you’re waiting for a formal mentoring arrangement you are already behind the eight ball.  While they do offer value (and I encourage you to always be open to new opportunities) the act of waiting for something to ‘fall into your lap’ will stop you from achieving your goals in the timeframe you desire.

You are the main man or woman in the movie that is your own life. Taking and accepting responsibility for your own journey and ultimately finding a mentor who has achieved what you want to is up to you.

Being humble is an act of vulnerability, but by asking for help in a structured way you show this vulnerability. And it’s from this place of vulnerability and openness to learn that we have the opportunity to grow. But with any mentoring arrangement, it’s up to you to respect the mentor. They’re investing time and energy with you – pay attention because their advice and information has the potential to sky rocket your career and life.

The only mentor I have ever known to say no or at least “not now” to a mentoring arrangement has been due to the fact that they received so many requests for mentorship per day, per week. If they said yes to all the requests this would almost be a full time role for them. What’s worth noting here, is that the desire to help, to share for the benefit of someone’s growth was still there.

The benefits of mentoring

1.    Formal and informal mentoring provides support and proven advice and many years of knowledge-tested insights into a short timeframe.

2.    It puts you in the driver seat with someone who has taken this road before. They are there to support you and be there to guide you through the hairpin turns and encouraging you down the straights.

3.    Mentoring helps you set and achieve big goals – it keeps you safe from playing small and never feeling successful.

4.    Mentoring can open up a new world of networks and opportunities. Starting a mentoring relationship with someone outside of your industry and influence, gives you access to career and personal opportunities you may not have known about.

A mentor helps you step back and see the “big picture”. They share ideas and help you identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that you may have overlooked.

Feel like you’ve been ‘settling for’ things and need a challenge? A mentor will encourage and dare you to go that extra mile, to improve your standards and go from good to great.

A lot of this article has been about the benefits of being mentored for the individual being mentored. However, the secret to happiness according to Harvard Business school studies and countless other studies is giving.

If you have five dollars, and buy a coffee, that’s great. But if you spent that same five dollars on a coffee for a colleague at work whom you know would appreciate it is priceless. We don’t need to be working at a fancy institution to know which transaction would give us a greater sense of happiness?

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