7 Facts For A Mentor Relationship
Humans are not always wired to be in growth mode. With our hectic schedule, on a day-to-day basis, we get tired both emotionally and physically. Initially, we set goals and then fall short. Be it getting to the gym or just making more phone calls for work, we push it to tomorrow, make excuses and then we don’t, believing it is okay.
I’ve been lucky to have mentors in My Dental College and throughout my business career. In business, I’ve found that one must seek out passive mentors that will help continue down the path toward a growth-centric mindset.
When I think of people who have tasted success and in life, whether in sports or business I know they’ve had good coaches or mentors along the way. To achieve success through positive mentorship or coaching, we must first be open to receiving coaching. We must be vulnerable to see where the weaknesses are and where we’re falling short. We cannot allow ourselves to think we have all the answers because we never will. I believe having a coach, mentor or motivational manager will help one turn the daily adversities of life into successful habits that build the internal resiliency.
Let’s understand some facts about what to expect in general from a mentor-mentee experience.
- Mentorship requires intentional investments of time and energy; one gets what they put in.
Being a mentee is not a passive role. When one has a mentor, it’s their job to define their own goals, cultivate the relationship, seek out advice, attend meetings or events they’re invited to, and so on. Building a strong network of mentors requires a commitment of time and energy, but with these types of relationships, one absolutely get out of them what one puts in. The more they know themselves – the strengths and weakness – the more value both will get out of the relationship. Then make time to invest in those relationships.
Such relationships must be tended to and are constantly evolving. These experiences and discussions culminate in a stronger bond to navigate more complex life or business discussions in the future.
- Experienced perspectives are invaluable for young careers and companies
While mentorship can be valuable at any stage of a career, it is highly important when the mentee doesn’t have as much personal experience in the respective industry. With a mentor, they can benefit from the insights gained through years of experience.
A strong mentor has the experience to help a startup avoid the pitfalls and identify the right and valuable path to success. Often entrepreneurs feel a lack of time, but the time and trouble can be saved by working with a good mentor, and this is invaluable.
- The best mentors are the ones who can fill gaps in skillset. Don’t seek a mentor who’s a clone
Every entrepreneur has his or her own strengths and weaknesses. While mentors can certainly help make the strengths even stronger, it’s usually even more valuable to have someone who can give advice in areas where they’re struggling.
In particular, it’s important for a mentor to supplement the strengths that the entrepreneur brings to the table. For example–I came to the game as a strong technologist but had to learn about the science of enterprise sales, finance/operations, etc. An entrepreneur should always select a mentor that fills the gaps in his/her experience and skill set.”
- It is not mandatory to follow a mentor’s advice–but one should listen to it and evaluate
An important thing one needs to understand about mentorship is that the mentor can’t live a life for anybody. They are available to provide guidance, advice and a perspective to help one think differently, but not make unilateral decisions for others. Their suggestions are important, but one need not always follow the same.
The role of the mentor is to make one reflect and not to give advice or answers. Helping one ask the right questions – that’s real mentorship.
- Anyone can be a mentor–even without knowing it
If one lives life with the perspective of having something to learn from everyone, they’ll eventually collect a lot of informal mentors along the way.
In my own life and career, I have had numerous mentors, most of them accidental, and many of them unaware that I saw them as mentors, so once a month meet with a client is a great opportunity to learn & understand their perspective of life, and getting a few life lessons as well, believe me I have been doing this for more than 20 years now.
- Diversity of mentorship is important
It’s common to have one person to regard as a primary mentor, but that doesn’t mean one can’t seek out a variety of perspectives on more informal basis as well. I encourage everyone to look out for mentors who bring other perspectives to light: “I always encourage people to find mentors who not only trust to be sources of counsel throughout one’s career but also who bring a different point of view to their own.”
- There are specific things one can do to being a good mentee
Often, people consider the “burden” of mentorship to be on the mentor. But mentees can actively take responsibility for cultivating the experience of mentorship too.
The biggest difference between people having a successful mentor relationship boils down to the initiative, many thoughtful pieces have been written about how to be a good mentor, but there is less attention on how to be a good mentee. When I look at those that I have mentored one on one and those that are getting a lot out of the program have some clear similarities,
- They are open and eager to improve.
- They establish the framework of the relationship.
- They work towards a growth-centric approach.
- They are prepared with specific questions, areas for feedback, and requests for support.”
I believe that if we consistently find mentors that have more experience than us in the areas we are truly passionate about, those unique and powerful growth moments will present themselves. The process will ensure that one reaches a new height & also new avenues of growth.