If you are an entrepreneur, business mentoring is an incredible tool to empower yourself. It shortens your learning curve by pinpointing the areas that need improvement. You can also learn from the mistakes of your mentor and devise effective strategies to avoid them.
Business mentoring is deeply rewarding for the mentor too. Being a mentor helps you polish your leadership skills and gain a fresh perspective on issues. It is also satisfying to know that you played a critical role in shaping someone’s future.
But business mentoring is no cakewalk. It is a two-way street that requires both mentor and mentee to bring their A-game. If you want business mentoring to be highly effective, here’s the ultimate guide that mentors and mentees can learn from:
Don’t confuse business mentoring with coaching
Business mentors are in it for the long-term. You can think of a business mentor as your confidante and trusted advisor who can help you navigate the complex challenges of your entrepreneurial journey. They use their experience to provide tailored advice about various aspects of running your business successfully. You can also learn new skills from your business mentors by learning from their mistakes and successes.
On the other hand, business coaching is about short-term training for achieving specific goals. For instance, if you are struggling with working out the best marketing strategy for your product, a business coach can hold specialized training sessions to make you a better marketer. Unlike business mentoring, business coaching polishes your existing skillset.
Business mentoring works best when the mentee is proactive
As a mentee, you must treat business mentoring as a means to an end. That’s why setting the correct pace with your mentor is incredibly important. Work with your mentor to chalk out goals you wish to achieve. You cannot leave it to the mentor to figure that out for you. After all, you are at the helm of your business, and no one understands your needs better than you.
Start by setting milestones and deadlines to review your progress. Remember that business mentoring is a great way to put your project management skills to the test. So take the initiative to make business mentoring give you the desired results.
Everyone deserves respect, even mentees
Having a respectful attitude is extremely important to reap the benefits of business mentoring. As a business mentor, if you criticize your mentee too harshly, it may end up damaging their morale and self-confidence.
If your mentee is new to entrepreneurship, mistakes are bound to happen. That’s why a mentor needs to create a structure that makes it easy for the mentee to take actions in the desired direction. Mentors must have an innate desire to help others and watch them grow. Respecting the challenges of your mentee is one of the best ways to show that you care.
Take the first meeting very seriously
The first interaction between a business mentor and mentee is not just an ice-breaking session.
Let’s face it — mentors and mentees are not all created equal. That’s why the first meeting can help you assess whether you are the right fit for each other. Use the first meeting as an opportunity to express yourself. If you are a mentee, talk about what you expect to achieve from business mentoring. If you are a mentor, set the boundaries of the mentoring relationship and explain what your role is going to be.
Both mentors and mentees must remember that business mentoring is not about spoon-feeding or the mentor telling the mentee what to do. Instead, it is about allowing the mentees to think independently with a little help from the mentor.
Additionally, mentors and mentees can also use the first meeting to iron out logistics, such as agreeing on the frequency and duration of their meetings.
Set KPIs to track progress
In the absence of well-defined KPIs, both mentors and mentees may find it challenging to determine the effectiveness of the mentoring program. Here are a few KPIs you can consider tracking:
- Satisfaction: Whether you are providing business mentoring or receiving it, the process should make you happy and satisfied
- Retention: If you are a mentee, track how the guidance from your business mentor has helped you overcome any recent challenges that you have faced.
- Learning and development: ultimately, business mentoring should help the mentees develop skills and confidence to overcome challenges that they are facing. The best way to track this KPI is by examining changes in the mentee’s behavior.
Never forget to follow through
Business mentoring is action-oriented and requires active participation from both mentor and mentee. As a mentee, make sure you take the actions agreed upon with your mentor to achieve your objectives. If your mentee poses a question you don’t have an answer to, tell them you will find a solution and follow through on your action.
Are you struggling to find the right mentor or mentee?
Regardless of the stage of your entrepreneurial journey, having a business mentor on your side can make a world of difference. A good mentor provides you critical insights to build and sustain a successful venture. However, finding the right mentor who fits your needs and understands your business can be challenging. Similarly, it may be taxing to locate the mentees who need your help as a business mentor.
This where Jupiter Business Mentors can help. We are a platform dedicated to connecting mentors to the start-up community and small & medium business enterprises. We provide seamless access to 35+ expert mentors across the industry verticals.
Whether you are a business mentor or a mentee, sign up on Jupiter Business Mentors and register your profile. Get ready to explore the world of business mentoring!