Mentoring as a guiding light
Defining what success means to you is one of the most important things a mentor can explore with a mentee. Success for one person might be having that yacht in Cannes, but for another it might be to secure a greater balance in their life, simply to get home every night for their children’s bedtime.
A good mentor, therefore, is someone who helps you step back from day-to-day stuff and gets you to take a look at achieving the bigger picture. It will come as something of a relief then to find that success does not necessarily mean an all-encompassing 24/7 regime!
Having said that, to really benefit from mentoring, individuals must go into it with a strong work ethic and the right attitude. You need to have a teachable spirit and an openness to learning. Successful people can be very single-minded, which is indeed a strength, but this can also be a potential problem in others……because at some point, your mentor is going to offer advice that may not be easily received, which means the relationship must be, absolutely, based on trust.
Just as in coaching, but which is different to *mentoring, and as with any relationship worth having in life, without trust, that most important and vital of all ingredients, make or break will always be on a knife-edge.
So, firstly, find the right person – going for a generalist usually reaps more benefits than someone focused on only one aspect of the business.
Secondly, be committed – seeing your mentor face-to-face once a month is great, but if you don’t make contact in between, they may start to question your dedication.
Mentoring allows you to get your brain into both growth and success mode, and it helps you to plan with action-oriented steps. A bit like a fitness coach would do to get you back into physical shape, a good mentor is in tune with where you’re going, providing you with guidance all the way.
Having a mentor is one of the best things you can do for yourself – all the best had or have one, whatever their profession – for Mark Zuckerberg, it was Steve Jobs; David Jason had Ronnie Barker; Tom Cruise had Paul Newman and for Brad Pitt, it was, and probably still is, Robert Redford. Me, I had Chris Keeling!…..Divisional HR Director of Village Leisure Hotels back in the 1990s, who, to this day, although no longer officially a mentor, still provides me with a regular fix of inspiration and an opportunity to reflect on what’s important in life!
Good luck in finding your own guiding light and to discovering what success really means to you!
* A coach uses advanced skills in listening, questioning, observation and feedback, without giving advice, by focusing more on the process of the conversation rather than the content, so allowing people to find their own solutions. A mentor, however, gives relevant opinions and advice from their own professional experience, because this will in some way be a match to yours, meaning they are much more involved in the detailed content of the conversation.