What value do you put on the advice you get from your business mentor?

 

How do you show respect to your business mentor?

 

A while ago I read an article in the Guardian newspaper by James Caan where he talked about taking notice of your Business Mentor.

 

The first thing that sprang to my mind was “I wonder how he defines mentor?”. So many people seem to use the term interchangeably with coach and business advisor, and they really shouldn’t and I’ll be writing a blog about the differences in another post very soon.

 

It always amazes me how some businesses invest a lot of time, effort and significant amounts of their hard earned cash to pay for help/ support/ advice and then completely ignore it. Or they don’t share the knowledge throughout the organisation, so one area will be making great changes and the rest of the business fails to keep up with them.

 

So who or what qualities make a good mentor for you or your business? Well for me it has to be someone I can aspire to be like. Whether it be the person a couple of steps ahead of me on the promotion ladder or a business owner who has a successful business model I admire, someone I know has proven expertise in a field I don’t have. But for me that is the key. They have to be able to prove they’ve done something. They are the people who can stand up and say “been there, done that, & they wear the t-shirt with pride”.

 

And it may be that I need more than one mentor at a time. Someone who has a more mature business than I do, as well as one who has a wealth of expertise in a particular area of my business so I can develop that area with their support.

 

To me, these people are my inspiration. That makes them very different from my business coach who provides the push and the drive to achieve what my mentors have already done. They have very different roles in my life and my business and I would (in most cases) feel uncomfortable receiving the other point of view from them.

 

So my advice would be to choose the people you share your business with with care. And if they are offering you their time and knowledge and support, whether it is for free or you are paying for it, treat it with respect and act on it. And if you don’t act on it explain to them why you haven’t or you may find that the next nuggets of information they share aren’t quite as useful or readily given.