Set realistic expectations for business mentoring with clarity about scope

Oct 22, 2020 9:49:00 AM

Business Mentors New Zealand is here to help you succeed by connecting you with knowledgeable, skilled and experienced business people. Whatever stage your business is at, you'll benefit most from a clear understanding of how mentoring can help, and its limits. Having realistic expectations for mentoring means collaborating to set objectives and knowing what mentoring involves.

Keep it real by agreeing on your objectives together

Right from the start of your relationship with Business Mentors New Zealand, you'll have a chance to get clear about your objectives. You can start thinking about this now. This will help us find the best fit in a Mentor. Our Mentor Coordinators have a deep knowledge of how you succeed with mentoring, and they're a great sounding board for checking if your objectives make sense.

In your first mentoring meeting, make it a priority to discuss your objectives with your Mentor. Together, you can decide how you'll measure progress and success. Be upfront about how you can contribute to this. It’s also worth setting out how you’ll stay in touch.

Know what you can expect from business mentoring

Your success is what motivates and rewards your Mentor. That means they’re one of the best allies you can have. Business Mentors New Zealand screens, inducts and offers excellent training to Mentors. Their role includes:

  • acting as a sounding board
  • sharing their knowledge and expertise
  • assessing your business and the expertise within it
  • identifying areas that need improvement or development
  • suggesting specific actions that you can implement
  • helping you to see that there is a 'bigger picture.'
  • helping you develop your decision-making skills.

Having no financial or emotional investment in your business allows your Mentor to bring fresh, objective thinking. They’re a guide, advocate and often a catalyst for change.

They share their time, experience and knowledge purely to give back, often in recognition of the support they've received themselves. Their generosity is precious.

What’s outside the scope of business mentoring?

Mentors are wonderful, and it's easy to hope they’ll be able to singlehandedly solve all your problems. Of course, that’s unrealistic. You’ll get the most from business mentoring if you understand what it’s not.

Business mentoring is not a one-way deal. Both people need to be committed to the mentoring process. Good communication, goal setting and mutual respect are vital. As a business owner, it will be you who needs to take action and do the work between your catch-ups.

Mentoring is not therapy. It’s true that your Mentor will be a valuable sounding board to help you think about business-related challenges. Keep looking forward, focus on your business success and align your discussions around this.

A Mentor is not a no-cost consultant. Don’t put your Mentor in an awkward position by asking them to work for your business rather than mentoring you. Their role doesn’t extend to spending time on spreadsheets or proposals on your behalf. Instead, your Mentor will be happy to share their insights and experience. They’ll use their skills to help you assess your business and may have specialist knowledge to offer.

Keep communicating

Ultimately, communicating well from the beginning is the best thing you can do to set realistic expectations for mentoring. You’ll get the best from the relationship by discussing how you’ll each contribute to the process, and then following through. Open honest communication means you’ll both share an understanding of where these limits lie.

If you think mentoring might help you realise your business aspirations and success, then please get in touch with us.