5 Key Roles Of A Business Mentor
Thursday, May 24th, 2018
Free Leadership Article
Drawing on personal experience and a broad knowledge base, the goal of a business mentor is to develop a supportive and encouraging professional relationship with the view to assisting continual growth and development.
In identifying a skills gap, mentors are usually called upon to assist people who may excel in some areas of running their business but need guidance, expertise or expanded knowledge in other areas. Calling upon this wider perspective allows business leaders to better meet the needs of individual clients, employees and the company as a whole.
Why Do I Need A Business Mentor?
Those in small business ownership or general management positions within SME’s can sometimes become isolated in their leadership roles. The constant pressure to succeed, make the right decisions and know what to do in every circumstance can be a heavy burden.
A business mentor can be extremely beneficial for confidentially voicing concerns, gaining clarity and perspective as well as offering practical suggestions on how to better achieve goals and meet deadlines.
What Does A Business Mentor Do?
While the day-to-day tasks of a business mentor will vary from business to business, these are some of the key roles you can expect mentors to fulfil.
- Provide Feedback. A primary role of a business mentor is to observe and provide feedback on the way in which you operate your business, manage staff and prioritise your day. They don’t have an agenda – instead they offer a neutral or ‘outsider’ perspective on the effectiveness of your current systems.
- Evaluate. With this feedback, the business mentor will work with you to evaluate and identify areas of strength, weaknesses and opportunities to improve. Together you can identify areas which offer the greatest opportunity for improved personal and business performance.
- Offer Guidance. After evaluation, the business mentor will help you identify specific solutions that could solve or improve performance in the areas identified. Because you get one-on-one guidance, they can tailor advice and create practical step-by-step plans to put solutions in motion. They’ll help you set realistic goals and determine the best course of action on how to achieve them.
- Provide Clarity. In a position of leadership, it can be possible to get caught up in small day-to-day tasks forgetting or not having enough time for more important things. Sometimes, a business mentor is an essential outside source to help you assess your priorities, gain perspective and make sure you’re spending time in the most productive way.
- Give Counsel. Being in a leadership position puts a great deal of stress on the individual. Stress, anxiety, worry and other negative emotions can be overwhelming and detrimental to one’s health. A business mentor is not a therapist, but they will often have a greater understanding of your feelings, having been there themselves they can offer helpful advice.
How Will Mentoring Help My Business?
As we have discussed above, within each individual business the role of a mentor can vary, however there are some key benefits to seeking the skills of a business mentor. Participating in a good mentoring relationship can result in the following.
- Acquiring unbiased advice on leadership style and intercompany communications.
- Increased productivity and performance levels.
- Greater retention of companywide knowledge and experience.
- Achieving a detached assessment of technical abilities and roles within the organisation.
- Greater levels of staff loyalty and retention.
- Developing a better focus on professional needs.
- Improvement of strategic business initiatives.
- Gaining a better understanding of financial aspects.
How To Find The Right Business Mentor
Finding the right mentor for your business is crucial to the success of the mentoring process. Your mentor needs to be capable of providing sound advice, giving useful guidance and most importantly have an emotional investment in seeing you succeed. These are some things to remember when searching for, and making the most of your business mentor.
- Set Clear Objectives. In order to be able to measure success, it is necessary to decide exactly what you intend to achieve and what it is you need mentoring on before even looking for a mentor. Accepting help from a marketing whizz isn’t going to help if your goal is to improve your productivity on the shop floor.
- Lead The Discussion. This is about you and your business needs, establish early on what it is you hope to achieve and expect from the relationship going forward. Look for any incompatibility issues and feel free to ask the mentor about their previous experience, core business values and suitability for the role.
- Look, Listen And Learn. Someone who is willing to learn and grow is much more inviting. Mentors will be more invested if you are also invested in making the most of the process. This doesn’t mean you have to implement everything they suggest blindly, just be open to the potential.
- Friend Vs Mentor. Don’t forget a mentor is not the same as a friend; they are not there to tell you what you want to hear. Business mentors are focussed on helping you and your business through specific circumstances and situations, make proper use of their skills and expertise.
- Establish Trust. If you cannot trust someone it is difficult to learn from them. Trust will involve you being able to be completely honest with this person, developing mutual respect and establishing a good level of compatibility. Without trust and honesty the effectiveness of the mentoring relationship is likely to be lacking.
- Don’t Be Annoying. Remember mentors are busy people too, they are likely to quickly tire of someone who takes up a lot of their precious time. After the initial meetings it is best to ask for small blocks of time, always be prepared and only discuss the most pressing issues at the time.
- Know When To Bail Out. If the relationship is lacking don’t be afraid to end the mentoring agreement. It is pointless to waste each other’s time, a mentor is not someone you want to alienate.
In business it makes sense to make the most of the knowledge of those who have gone before you, business mentors are a great tool for personal growth and professional development. See here for more information on the role of a business mentor or how a business mentor can help your business in 2018.
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