Mentorships enable us to build on the foundation of knowledge and business acumen that successful leaders already have. This is especially true for entrepreneurs who rely on strategy and relationships to build and grow their business. But finding a mentor can be a challenge; The Olivet Nazarene University surveyed 3,000 people and found that nearly half of those surveyed have never had a mentor and those who did have organically built their mentoring from existing relationships.
How do you find a good mentor if it doesn’t happen organically? A good mentor is more than just a successful entrepreneur. To build a strong mentorship, both the mentor and mentee need to get something out of the relationship. Here are some good qualities and examples to look for in finding the right mentor for you.
What makes a good mentor?
Looking at those in your industry who are having the success you want to achieve is a good start, but strong mentorship is about more than just idolizing success. To find the right mentor for an entrepreneur looking to pave their own path, one has to look at the path, not the finish line. The key is not in their success, but in the strategies they used to get there.
When looking for a mentor, look at the path someone has taken from the beginning of their career to success. Coach Legend, founder of Legend Credit Repair, has grown from a nine-to-five job to a seven-figure career. His willingness to ask for help is part of what got him there. Now he keeps paying it by creating a mentoring culture with both his team and clients. He builds his business by serving clients and teaching them how to fix their credit and build a secure financial future. His strategy of getting from point A to point B is based on his thinking that you have never arrived. Removing the ego from the equation creates space for a type of trust born out of humility. He works side by side with his co-workers and never asks them to do anything he doesn’t want to do himself.
The Olivet Nazarene University natural mentors mentioned in their study are likely built around someone like Coach Legend because of his willingness to do so on the team, not about it. This is a key trait of a strong mentor. It is not enough for a mentor to be successful in your industry. To be a great mentor, you also need to be a teacher who is dedicated to helping you succeed.
Mentoring in the workplace
Successful mentoring can fuel a career and lay the foundation for a strong company, and many companies are realizing it. According to Terri Scandura, a management professor and dean of the University of Miami Graduate School, 71% of Fortune 500 companies are mentored Programs.
Finding a mentor in your workplace, whether on a corporate program or not, will help ensure that your mentor has the right industry background – and connecting with a colleague can help increase job satisfaction. According to Scandura, employees with mentors make more money and get promoted faster. And companies also benefit from this – mentees are generally more productive and are more likely to stay with the company.
But many entrepreneurs are not tied to a large company with potential mentors. As start-ups, entrepreneurs may need to look outside of their own business to find a mentor. External organizations such as professional clubs that are focused on your industry are a good option. You can also view and attend relevant conferences or events where you can interact and connect with others in your space.
However you find your mentor, remember that mentoring is about more than idolizing your mentor’s success; Think critically about their background, the path they took to get to where they are, and their willingness to be part of your journey and success. Good mentors are relationships. They work best when the people within them have a strong connection based on shared goals and a desire for success.