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Business Mentoring: A Quick Guide For Mentees

Updated on May 20, 2014
Jedi training on Dagobah
Jedi training on Dagobah

Remember how Yoda helped bring out the Jedi Knight within Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back? That's one excellent example of great mentorship right there! He impeccably demonstrated how to give support to a promising individual. He offered challenges that allowed Luke to learn and grow. And on top of it all, Yoda provided a vision that enabled Luke to gain confidence.

Well, I’m a huge fan of business mentors for similar reasons:

  • Business mentors are people with specific knowledge and expertise.
  • They have learned the basic principles and best practices of their trade.
  • They are abundant thinkers who are eager to share what they know with those in need of assistance.

By absorbing their advice, business builders get a sense of what works and what stumbling blocks to avoid – and when you’re starting out, knowing these things is beyond crucial.

"I'm looking for a Jedi Master!"

These days, however, I seem to often hear stories about the struggles of finding business mentors, or long strings of complaints about their lack of effectiveness. What people don’t realize is this: it takes work on both sides to make business mentoring work. Your mentor believes in your vision? That’s great! He takes the time to personally provide guidance? High-five! Just don’t forget that this “relationship” requires your effort, too.

Now, you may be wondering: wait, am I not on the receiving end as a mentee? Technically, yes. But again, an investment on your part is called for in this process if you want it to really work. Where to begin, you ask? Here are 5 quick and easy tips!

Bonus: Have you found yours?

01. Establish clear objectives for yourself.

Before you get the right business mentor, decide first on exactly what it is you need mentoring on. Are you looking to develop and execute a brilliant beyond brilliant marketing strategy? Then a Chief Financial Officer may not just fit the bill.

02. Study. Practice. Work. Repeat.

You know s/he’s best mentor when s/he’s most interested in helping out mentees who are willing to learn and grow quickly (again, think Luke Skywalker and Yoda). This in no way means that, going forward, you should blindly accept guidance or assistance. It just means there’s no room for excuses – not even a tiny space. If you make a genuine effort to work out and implement action items, then you might just get the best results.

Luke Skywalker: I don't believe it. | Yoda: That is why you fail.

03. Respect your mentor's time.

The best mentors aren’t the best for nothing, you know? They are busy people, too – awesome, busy people with big games to play; hence, they may not fancy having heaps of their time sucked up. I say go ask for small focused chunks of time. 10 minutes tops, perhaps? And don’t forget to take relevant discussion topics with you.

04. Always lead the discussion.

You don’t seriously expect your mentor to drive your business, do you? As an entrepreneur, it’s best that you propose the agenda and drive for specific insights without forgetting to press your mentor for further implications.

05. Communicate progress on a regular basis.

There’s nothing that makes a great mentor more eager to helping you than a clear indication that you’re actually following through, and that the help is doing you lots of good.

When seeking out a mentor, it’s imperative that you go for someone who genuinely cares about you as a person and who truly wants to see you succeed in your chosen path – as at the end of the day, genuine concern and emotional involvement are keys to successful mentoring relationships.

You want to make your own mistakes to learn from them? That’s fine, too! But when you’re given the fastest route to business success, you take it – by which, I just mean: take advice from people who have already spent years learning how to succeed.

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