Is it your time to help bring others along the path to business success? If you’ve decided to take on the role of a business mentor, then you might be wondering where to begin and what to expect. Here’s what you need to know about starting right, what to focus on, what to avoid and some of the secrets of having powerful, inspiring conversations. As a mentor with Business Mentors NZ, you’ll offer a business owner a few hours of your time each month, for 12 months. In this time, you can make an impact that has lasting benefits.
Set yourself up for success
Your first meeting is the time to lay a framework for your mentoring relationship and to start getting to know each other. Once you’re both at ease, agree on how you can add the best value as a business mentor, and talk about ways of working such as maintaining confidentiality.
Helping someone see the big picture and what it will take to get there is one of the most important parts of a mentor’s role. So, you can start right away! Talk about what you both hope to achieve through mentoring.
It’s useful to meet at a regular time and place, with an understanding about getting in touch if other things pop up. This means setting your boundaries and explaining how you prefer to communicate. Are you up for calls or texts after hours, or would you prefer a heads-up to your work email? You must also make a commitment to value each other’s time.
What great business mentors do
Great business mentors encourage and inspire others. They’re honest but empathetic. So how do you strike this special balance? When it comes to someone you’re mentoring, caring about the whole person will help. It enables you to keep their best interests top of mind. For them, your unique view on business challenges and objectives can be priceless, so be forthcoming about experiences that have shaped your thinking. There’s value for everyone in seeing alternative perspectives. And this is exciting – you can expect to learn and grow as you mentor someone else.
What business mentors don’t do
Your job as a business mentor is not to fix everything or do the work yourself. You’re not a counsellor either. It’s worth being clear about this as part of your initial discussion. Resist the temptation to create a clone! Not everything you say will resonate with the business owner your working with, so don’t get hung up if something you say doesn’t seem to stick. Expect people will only take on board what works for them, as they’re ready.
It’s all about powerful conversations
Listening is the single most crucial skill of a mentor – not just to what is said, but how it’s said. This will enable you to have meaningful and impactful conversations. When people tell us things, it’s easy to feel pressure to respond with something helpful. Instead, a good mentor will dig deeper with thoughtful questions. If you can empower someone else to discover insights by thinking about things in a new way, then you’ll set them up for significant personal growth.
Sharing your mistakes is gold
One of the best gifts a mentor can offer is being comfortable sharing their own failures. It takes – and builds – trust and respect within a relationship. Sharing your experiences and explaining what you learned from them is also a smart way to give meaningful, relevant guidance without being critical.
Mentors can make an incredible impact through their generosity of time. Knowing where to start, what makes a great mentor, what to avoid, and the secrets of powerful conversations will set you up to be magnificent in your role. You’ll see some great examples of mentoring success among our case studies.
The most inspiring leaders are those who help others succeed. If you’re considering mentoring, then you’ve probably got the right attitude to make a difference. We’d love to hear about your experience. You can start the application process here.