Preparing for and Finding Your Perfect Mentor

No man, or woman, is an island. We all need companionship, direction, advice, and a sense that what we want out of life is valid and attainable. To achieve these gifts, many people seek a mentor.

Professional mentors have a wealth of knowledge they are eager to share with people who need some direction to find or validate their journey. While everyone agrees that having a mentor is an excellent business strategy, finding one is not always easy.

Actions Needed Before Seeking Your Mentor

two-men-mentorHoning in on choosing your mentor requires some introspection. The first step to locating your perfect guide is to work diligently and develop a work reputation for success. A stellar work ethic will attract seasoned professionals and possibly provide an opportunity for a mentoring relationship.

Next, it’s crucial to understand your business goals and what you need to attain them. It’s fruitless to seek a mentor relationship until you have a clear vision for your company. Once you can articulate these goals, focus on what you need to achieve them. Going into the mentor relationship armed with a clear path shows you are invested in the process, not just looking for someone to provide all the answers.

Additionally, make sure part of your introspection addresses your leadership style. What are your go-to approaches in certain situations? What do people react positively to regarding your leadership style? When have you observed that your approach might not be effective? Answering these types of questions provides valuable insight when identifying a mentor. You will want to find someone with a leadership style is similar to yours, but more developed. In other words, they are the leader that you aspire to be.

Once your homework is complete and you understand the concepts mentioned above, you can focus on what you want and need in a mentoring relationship. There are three fundamental qualities that all great mentors possess. In your search, you should be seeking people who measure up in these areas:

1.  A Mentor’s Vision is Always Growing

You know these people in your business world. These are the ones who enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done for a brief moment in time, and then their brain is racing to improve, go further, or find a new direction for the project.

A person who has an ever-growing vision and who always looks ahead has the drive to push ideas to realities. And this is the kind of person you need helping you reach your dreams and grow your business.

Indeed, a person with so much professional vision of their own can also look at your company’s journey and provide insight from a new perspective. Getting the professional opinion of someone unattached to your business offers a portal to information you cannot see from your position. Over time, your perception might have developed a bad case of tunnel-vision, and a mentor with exceptional visionary skills could break those tunnel walls. This action can open up a multitude of positive discoveries that could make your goals easier to attain.

2.  There’s No Ego

Even though an accomplished businessperson might have many reasons to brag, a great mentor will check the ego at the door. A worthy mentor candidate will be transparent about business failures and not too proud to admit there have been some along the way.

A great mentor candidate will know sharing the failures helps you see that no one is perfect and that sometimes you have to mess up to get back in the game. The important thing is not to let failures define and deter you. A mentor who shares failures and how to respond appropriately to them is a treasured asset.

A mentor whose goal is to support you always takes the time to help and make you their number one priority in the moment. This availability is a sign of genuine caring for you over themselves. However, you must understand their generosity and know that meeting with you might not be convenient for them, but they will do it anyway.

For these reasons, make sure your ego is also in check. Be respectful of their time and giving nature by making the meeting convenient for them. If someone needs to rearrange their schedule, it should be you, not your mentor. And finally, make sure you show your appreciation outwardly by doing something little but meaningful such as sending a thank you card, remembering their birthday, or sending a holiday card to show your appreciation.

3.  The Conversation is Always About the Other Person

When a gifted mentor speaks, it will be about you, the mentee, and how they can help you by sharing their experiences. Even when offering past experiences, the mentor will focus on how this advice relates to you. Again, they check the ego at the door. A dedicated mentor will not shower you with their accolades and dazzle you with their triumphs. They will use relevant experiences directed to your issues and how they can help.

Naturally, a skilled mentor will have exceptional listening skills. They will usually ask, “How can I help you?” And then, they will genuinely focus on listening to your story. Too many people lack real listening skills because they are too focused on what they will say next. Great mentors know it’s more about what you are saying, and that is their focus. After you have finished speaking, they will offer some words of wisdom, calculated to address your specific needs.

These are trying times for entrepreneurs and business owners, making this a time to reach out and ask for help if you need it. A growing number of people are choosing a mentoring relationship to guide them through the rough waters. Doing the necessary introspections regarding your vision and needs prepares you to find the right mentor. And knowing what to look for in a mentor will also be a great advantage during your search.

Karie Kaufmann

Karie Kaufmann

Since 2005, Karie Kaufmann has helped over 1,000 business owners and executives achieve their goals and take their business to the next level. Her clients have achieved double and triple-digit growth in profitability, accomplished through improvements in sales, marketing, team training, systems development, and strategic planning. She helps business leaders work through the roadblocks and growing pains of rapid growth, enabling sustainable growth and profitability that exceeds the industry average.

As both a certified Scaling Up Coach and an ActionCOACH, Kaufmann belongs to a network of over 1,000 business coaches in 70+ countries. With this network of brain power, along with her M.B.A., Bachelor of Science degree in Business Marketing, and over 10,000 hours of coaching experience, Kaufmann is skilled at breaking down complex issues into simple steps, and has the tools to help her clients succeed.

Kaufmann has received numerous awards and honors, including being inducted into the coaching Hall of Fame (ActionCOACH, 2020) Global Master Coach of the Year (ActionCOACH, 2019), Most Community Impact (Business Excellence Forum, 2018), and Coach/Mentor of the Year (Stevie Award–Silver, 2019), and has been honored by the University of the Pacific as an outstanding alumnus. Several of her clients have also received notable awards, including “Fastest Growing Company”, “CEO of the Year”, and “Best Service-Based Business”. Kaufmann currently serves on the board of Newbreak Church and is a Lifetime Partner and financial contributor to B1G1: Business for Good.

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