Understand how mentoring can help you/your business grow

What is the difference between a coach and a mentor?

Many people confuse coaching and mentoring; however, they are different relationships with different purposes.

Coaching is generally a short-term personal relationship between two people in which the coach uses thought provoking and creative strategies to help the client develop personally or professionally.

However, a mentorship relationship is generally much longer, for example more like a year or more.  The relationship is mutually beneficial. The mentor helps the mentee develop professional skills or expertise, and the mentee allows the mentor to develop their leadership skills.

A mentor is a professional guide that imparts knowledge, wisdom, and expertise to a lesser experienced person.

What does a mentor do?

Whether you’re the founder of a brand-new startup or an entrepreneur with a bit of business experience under your belt, you can always benefit from a mentor.

A mentor can serve as a sounding board at critical points throughout your business.  It is a great relationship to have.  I personally think you can really benefit from a mentor as it is less of a dictatorship and more of a mutual relationship.

Mentors can help their mentees identify and avoid business pitfalls, and work through the challenges ahead of them.

When we are immersed in our own businesses it is easy to lose sight of the big picture.

It’s important to have mentors, especially early in your business.  These should be people external of your business and they should provide insight on getting ahead as well as supporting your overall goals.

A mentor offers career guidance and serves as a sounding board for a mentee.

How to find a mentor

The first step to find a mentor is defining what you want out of your business.

This may not mean planning out your whole business.  It is important to leave room to go where things take you but defining what you want in the short term can give you a clear path forward.

Consider where you want your business to be and see if you can determine who has your dream job and who you admire,

Successful mentoring relationships happen when the mentor and mentee are the right match.  Reach out to someone you think you are comfortable with, who can be a neutral sounding board, and  will also provide great advice.

I think it is probably best to have a combination of somebody who knows your industry well but not directly involved in your business.

Someone who has a general idea of your current role and industry will be able to give you advice on things like new projects to explore.

Once you are ready to reach out to someone, it is important to keep things casual.  A potential mentor should be the same as an approach to a potential friend; your relationship will develop over time.  Don’t force things; stay relaxed. Lessons and advice will come over time.

The difference between mentorships and friendships, however, is in how you follow up.

Why you should consider working with a mentor

A mentor can be a very valuable asset, especially for young, aspiring beauty entrepreneurs, and those new to the world of business.  But, even for those experienced therapists, who became business owners and have just, slightly, lost their way and lost focus.

There are several benefits to working with a mentor.

Finding the right mentor is not a secret to success.  Learning from someone more experienced is an invaluable business opportunity, whether you’ve just started or you’re already well underway with your venture.

As we slip into the day-to-day routine of working life, it is easy to get lost in the moment.  Our problems are usually right in front of our face.  Although we cannot see the wood from the trees.  A mentor can be the person to reset things so we can look at our businesses and see how ee can grow from a new perspective.

Someone who inspires you…

With that first step in mind, understanding the nature of a mentor, mentee relationship can be important.  The mentor and a mentee’s connection does not always need to be an intense, formal thing.  It is an ongoing conversation and relationship that is not going to completely overhaul your life, however, there will be massive changes made.

It is better to focus on maintaining the professional relationship and learning what you can.

Sometimes, all you need in these moments is someone to look up to, someone who has been in your shoes but created their own path to success.  Someone who inspires you and makes you believe YOU can!!

Your mentor/mentee relationship

Once you’ve met with someone and had an initial conversation.  If you think they can provide valuable advice to you as your business progresses.

While in person meetings are important, social media/online or group mentorships can offers mentees the opportunity to have regular, no-pressure interactions with mentors.

Social media allows mentees to nudge their mentors and vice versa.

The balance must be right for both parties though.

One final, more meaningful way to connect with a mentor is regular mail.  A thank you note or holiday card can go a long way to show you value your mentor’s advice and presence in your life.

The qualities of a good mentor

Experience – your mentor should have more experience than you and a track record of success.  A great mentor is someone whose qualities make up a much better version of who you envision yourself to become.

Authenticity, empathy, creativity and honesty – seek a mentor who has a strong character and traits worth emulating.  Look for mentors who are authentic, empathetic, creative and honest, someone who is caring and invested in your professional growth.

Although you also want/need someone who will speak truth to you.  Sometimes you need some constructive criticism or a reality check, while other times you need a high five or pat on the back.  The right mentor, for you, will provide all of those things.

Similar values to your own – a mentor in the same business area as you may better understand your business’s challenges and concerns.  However, all parts of industries can differ.  So, make sure that the mentor shares a similar value system in leadership and management.

How to add value to a mentor-mentee relationship – as a mentee, it can be easy to fall into a pattern of asking a lot of your mentor without giving anything in return.  While your mentor might be happy to provide you with advice regardless, it’s still important to think of some ways to show your appreciation and make yourself available for your mentor.

Step our of your comfort zone

The whole point of seeking out a mentor is to get important insight and advancement for your business.  However, the only way that is possible is if you’re proactive about your own situation.

What I mean is everyone needs to be proactive in their own personal and business advancement and growth.  Let’s say you feel like you are in a good place and everything is going well.  However, you can still benefit from a mentor because, at some point, you may hit a plateau.

With a mentor, keep it simple and stay relaxed about the relationship.  There is often a lesson to be learned from someone who is further along in their career.  The key is being open to whatever lesson or message that is.

Take aways

Make sure you seek out someone who you want to emulate!

Find someone who can help you in areas where you’re deficient in knowledge and skills.

How much is it?

Now, all programs can differ in price.  There are various ways to mentor and be mentored:

  • Online
  • Group coaching/mentoring
  • 1 to 1 mentoring
  • Accountability programs

Online and group coaching/mentoring  can be very cost effective.  Plus you can learn from other people within your industry too.

If you need more specific coaching/mentoring then 1 to 1 or accountability programs could be more for you.

I have a membership online group mentoring and I work with individuals too.  All ways are beneficial, it is just important to work out what is right for you.

Lots of love

This is all said with love, I know many people have different opinions and that is absolutely fine.

If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

Any questions, just ask… Why not arrange a fact finding call and see if we can generate some ideas of how to move your business forward.

Much love.

Louisa Ashforth Signature