Many times, we are up against challenges both in business and in life, and we find ourselves facing them alone. Having collaboration with friends, mentors and sponsors can give us critical motivation and soften the learning curve of new endeavors. Sometimes we have learned to have good judgment after experiences where we made mistakes. Failure is one of the greatest teachers. Mentoring can allow us to skip a step, and let’s us “borrow” the good judgment of another going forward. But true mentoring goes far deeper than just improved strategy. It includes encouragement, identity realization, and being influenced by a chosen role model.
Is mentoring for everyone?
I would truly hope so, but individuals must decide what is best for them and in which season of life or business, mentoring would make sense for them.
Here are a few of the most important qualities of a Mentee:
1. A true desire to be mentored
2. The love of learning
3. Self awareness
Is this you? Or is this the “you” that you want to be? Don’t let fear or die-hard independence be an obstacle to giving mentoring a try.
Finding a Mentor
Often times you hear motivational speakers talking about how important it is to have a mentor and we ask, “Well where do we find them?” This can be a challenge. If you want to find a mentor then you must fully decide that you want one. Once you have made that decision, then you have just activated one of the best search engines available. Wholly focused desires open the eyes to see opportunities and to have the practical faith to step into them. Do not be surprised when you begin to see relational doors that can lead you to mentoring relationships. But be selective to whom you allow to the mentor level of influence.
What makes a great Mentor?
A mentoring relationship is a rare commodity and we need to treat it with the utmost care. It can be so wonderful to find yourself being mentored or sponsored. A great mentor draws out the best in us, challenging us to take our dreams seriously. They do not need to be an Albert Einstein for your life. But there are certain qualities that seem to be sterling for mentors:
1. Maturity & good practical judgment
2. Caring and safe
3. A good connection with your heart and personality
4. Available & approachable
5. Committed to your success
A truly great mentor is one who inspires us, and challenges us to truly believe our own dreams.
Designed & Spontaneous Mentoring
Perhaps when you think of mentoring, you consider a designed relationship of mutual commitment with talks over coffee on a regular basis. This is certainly valid and dynamically transformational. But there is also the unplanned mentoring where the Lord uses someone or even a group to greatly influence us with insight and support. Recently I was at a Vistage CEO peer advisory group of which I am a member in Sacramento. I am new to the group and don’t know the members well, but when I shared the challenge I am facing with a new business venture, I was literally blown away at the multifaceted wisdom and support that was given to me. It was a spontaneous moment and of greater significance that I imagined. I am grateful to have been deeply mentored by the group at a crucial time in my business.
Coaching & Mentoring
Coaching skills are absolutely ideal for mentoring since they help nourish independence and responsibility in a partnering orientation. Intuitive listening, believing in the person, challenging, goal setting and finding the agenda of the heart are just a few tools that dovetail smoothly into the skills of extraordinary mentoring.
Going alone is a greatly overrated concept. We as humans are designed to support each other. Support, encouragement and receiving outside perspective from others is a dynamic boost for us in our business and life challenges. Let me challenge you today to search for your mentors. This is the secret way of life where you can become the very best you.
“A mentor empowers a person to see a possible future, and believe it can be obtained.”
Martin Flack, Vistage Chair at Vistage Redding, Executive Coach and international speaker with Riverstone Coaching & Consulting, LLC
*Endurance News Magazine, The Magic of Mentoring Special Issue August 2016,
American Endurance Ride Conference (Title phrase idea)