Many business managers and entrepreneurs have benefited from trusted advisors and mentors, a person they turn to for advice and guidance to help them succeed in business. But how does mentoring work?
Benefits of mentorship
Mentoring can be a powerful, cost-effective tool for management, and is a proven way of transforming business performance. Mentoring is hugely popular amongst entrepreneurs and business owners; as sometimes, being the sole person in your business, having a friendly advisor and mentor to talk to, can greatly improve how you run your business. There’s a trend for mentorship programmes being brought in-house within organisations; either sourcing external mentors for their management team, or assigning managers as mentors for other team members – or both.
A mentor is ordinarily a person with more experience in a particular field, who takes the time to personally give guidance, advice, listen, and takes an investment in your success. Mentoring, like other personal development activities, can quickly increase anyone’s value and income in business, and is a great way to learn from successful business people or senior colleagues who can share their experience with you. But for mentoring to really work, you need to manage expectations and set clear objectives.
Firstly, think about what you’re looking for. Do you need a mentor or are you interested in becoming a mentor?
Deciding that you need a mentor is a great step forward in your personal and professional development. If you’re employed as a senior manager in a business, volunteering to become a mentor to less experienced staff can also be a great way to boost your leadership and management skills.
Once you’re clear on what you need, set some clear goals and objectives – so you know what you can expect from the process.
Coaching or Mentorship?
There’s a difference between a mentor, a friend and a coach. A mentor will guide you in what you need to achieve; unlike a friend who may be a little too subjective and tell you what they think you want to hear, which isn’t necessarily helpful. A business coach will focus on helping you with generic skills; whereas a mentor’s aim is to teach you based on specific situations/scenarios, and on experience. The same person can’t be all of these!
Once you’ve started your mentorship programme, make sure both parties communicate on a regular basis. You’ll want to agree frequency of meetings, will this always be in person or will there be some telephone and email support? Decide what you need and what you are comfortable with. A good mentor will monitor their mentees’ progress and get satisfaction from your growth and development.
There is nothing that makes a potential mentor more open to helping you than you making it clear that you are implementing recommendations, and demonstrating what you’ve learnt and how you have benefitted from their support.
Where to look for help?
Websites such as Mentorsme, are an initiative that act like a gateway for businesses, and is a good place to start if you are looking for a mentor to help you with your business. You may also want to help your existing employees improve their leadership and management skills, and may be considering introducing a mentorship programme at work.
As a business owner or manager, learning coaching and mentorship techniques can help you to get the best from your employees, and understanding the different contexts of when to use different skills will enable you to positively influence and inspire your team.
Our Coaching & Mentoring Skills for Managers course is a great way to learn key skills in coaching and mentorship, to help you develop a culture of personal leadership and responsibility, whilst also enhancing your own interpersonal skills, self-development and self-confidence.
Learn how to improve your mentorship skills with Ripley Training
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