Do you have a mentor? A topic that seems to be coming up a lot at the moment for me is that of mentors and mentoring.
In fact, earlier this week I had only pressed send on an email in the afternoon to ask someone if they would consider being a mentor to me when I arrived at a dinner event where the speaker was Mark Bouris and the topic, yep, you’ve guessed it – Mentoring!
Okay – he does have a TV show of the same title at the moment so I shouldn’t have been that surprised that Mark Bouris chose the topic of mentoring – but, the point is, more and more you hear great business people talk about the significant role that mentors have played in their success.
So what is a mentor?
According to the Collins English Dictionary:
A person’s mentor is someone who gives them help and advice over a period of time, especially help and advice related to their job.
It’s also really important to distinguish the difference between a mentor and a coach.
Here’s an extract from an article by Smart Company explaining the difference in outcomes of a coach vs a mentor:
A coach is typically engaged to assist with a particular problem, meaning their efforts are more task oriented. Examples include improving public speaking skills, managing people more effectively or developing leadership attributes.
Mentoring on the other hand is relationship focused. The mentor is there to provide the mentee with general guidance and support, holding their hand through certain issues as opposed to telling them how to do it.
You can check out the full article here
What is a good mentor?
Going back to Mark Bouris and the presentation he gave over dinner. His two key points on what makes a good mentor were:
- That they ask great questions
- That they keep you accountable
He followed this with a fabulous story about the late Kerry Packer and the role he played as mentor for Mark – as terrifying as he was brilliant, he continually kept him accountable and asked the hard questions that we are too afraid (or haven’t thought to ask) ourselves.
And there’s the key right?
Asking the right questions.
The questions we either don’t know to ask, or are too afraid to ask?
Like … what business are we in? (and no, the answer is not – finance, hospitality etc.!)
By asking better questions, we get better answers and by getting better answers – well, just imagine the possibilities!
So do you have a mentor? What has been the best question they have ever asked you? And if you don’t have a mentor yet – is it time you started looking?
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"Confessions of a Small Business Owner"
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Chief Brand Strategist
Kerry Chick is a stressed out business owner who, in her head runs a super streamlined, beautifully efficient, well-oiled machine of a business. The reality is a little different….here are her confessions!