When you’re busy building a business while juggling family and social life, it’s hard to find time for career-related training. One way to improve your business knowledge is by taking a course or program. Another is to read many books. However, one of the most effective ways is to learn from a mentor who has already built a successful business. Finding the perfect mentor is not easy, but there are some tips you can follow to find the right one for you.
Determine your mentor’s teaching style
To learn from someone who has celebrity status (worldwide or local), start with an online search. Follow this person on their social media platforms, watch their videos, or subscribe to their newsletters. If they have free seminars or workshops, sign up for them. Your purpose is to learn more about their teaching style, as well as what they teach. You want to choose a mentor whose style resonates well with you.
If your mentor is not a celebrity with hundreds or thousands of followers, the same idea applies. For example, you might have attended a coworker’s presentation and realized you would like to learn more from them. Or you might have gone for coffee with a friend and realized you want to learn more from their experiences.
Whether your mentor is a well-known celebrity such as Tony Robbins or someone you know personally, ask yourself if your mentor challenges you. For example, if you just became an entrepreneur and your potential mentor started a business six months ago, your mentor may not be able to guide you. However, if your potential mentor has owned a successful business for ten years, you have a greater distance to climb to catch up to that same point.
Take action after you choose a mentor
When you’ve found someone you like as a mentor, ask yourself if your mentor can motivate you to get results.
Your mentor should inspire you to take action when you watch their YouTube video or teach you about a new concept. Their message should excite you so much that you want to learn and change. They should also be approachable. For example, you should feel comfortable having dinner with them without feeling nervous.
Their mentorship should have you thirsting for more knowledge about the same topic or have you madly scribbling notes. You should be excited about applying what they are trying to teach you as soon as possible.
To get the best results from working with a mentor, have some goals in mind. The worst scenario is to be too general about what you want your mentor to teach you. If your mentor posts a lot of learning material online, focus on one topic at a time, not getting your hands on everything they have ever published. If your mentor wants to help you improve your skills, don’t set a general goal, such as, “I want to get better at my career.” Set specific goals and share these with your mentor.
Choose a mentor who chooses you
Getting feedback from your mentor is important. I’ve taken online courses from experts and gurus who I respect as mentors. I understand their lessons, but I’m unsure whether I’m interpreting their learning points correctly.
At a workshop or live webinar, choose a mentor who answers questions and provides feedback to participants. This style helps you to gauge if you understand what they teach.
If you can schedule an hour with your mentor, have your hour planned in advance. Prepare questions to ask your mentor, or list what you’d like to improve on before your meeting. Set clear expectations and outcomes to show your mentor that you respect their time.
For example, if you want to improve your presentation skills, ask your mentor if they can give you some pointers and feedback on the way you speak at a presentation. Be prepared to show them part of your presentation so they can provide you with specific tips and feedback.
After receiving feedback, take some time to reflect on what you’ve learned. Was the feedback valuable? Can you use the feedback to make improvements? Did your mentor seem genuinely invested in you? A mentor who is genuinely invested will encourage you, tell you what progress you’ve made, be honest in their critique, and help you set goals for next steps.
Keep moving forward
Finding the right mentor is like an investment. You want someone who is approachable, excited about what you want to learn, and honest when mentoring you. It will feel uncomfortable and even painful to be told that you aren’t doing something well. However, if you only spend time doing things that you already do well, you will not grow as a person.
Embrace change and getting uncomfortable. You may find yourself looking for a new mentor in the future for various reasons. In my case, I had a business mentor for two years. As I developed my business knowledge, I started to change my goals for my business strategy. I realized I needed a new mentor who could help me improve my new approach to doing business. I found a new mentor, but I keep in touch with my previous one.
In life, the best direction to keep moving in is forward. After you reach one milestone in the road, aim for a new one. Always keep challenging yourself and you will grow as a person.
Finding the perfect mentor is a search for a two-way relationship. Your mentor should be someone you are inspired to learn from, but also someone who is excited about seeing your business grow.
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