Choosing the Right Mentor

April 6, 2012 by Leona Charles
Career Development

Everywhere you turn you’ll hear successful men and women sing the praises of a personal business guru, someone who will guide you through the minefield of this entrepreneur experience. What they don’t tell you is you will have to kiss a lot  of  frogs before you find your guru. So to save my fellow entrepreneurs from a rough journey, here are some things to consider when choosing a mentor.

Don’t ignore the facts

We have all met this person at one time or another.  They tell you they know everyone, they have been past presidents of business organizations but for some reason when you see them in action you find out that some of those accomplishments are severely exaggerated and their awards are mostly bought. When your gut tells you something is not quite right, ask the tough questions. A mentor rides with you through some tough situations; you don’t want to find out that they can’t help you after all.

Advice that isn’t constructive isn’t advice at all.

When you run a business you become a high visibility person. With this high visibility position your mistakes are out in the open and there will never be a lack of criticism. What is a  problem is when the negative noise is coming from your mentor. A mentor’s value is that they’ve been there and done that so, you partner with them so they can tell you how to navigate sticky situations. If all they do is criticize and never advise, it’s time to find a new mentor.

No questions asked is a bad thing

If your mentor never asks you any questions about your business or your strategy, run quickly. A true mentor wants to see you grow and experience success. An uninvolved mentor is someone who is not invested in your journey as an entrepreneur. In my opinion that’s not mentor material.

Scattered focus is a scattered mentor

Mentors are generally successful people,  which means that their time is a precious commodity. The trick is to know when they are too busy to be a mentor.  A good way to gauge this is if you can’t get a call back or a lunch, you may have a scattered mentor. You need a mentor that can focus on your growth and success strategy with you, not as an afterthought.

 

Finding a mentor is a bit like finding the perfect mate, everything has to fall into place. The truth is that a successful business has a CEO with a good mentor, and a good entrepreneur knows that a good mentor is worth their weight in gold.

 

Leona Charles

Leona Charles began SPC Business Consulting Ltd in 2007 to help businesses of all sizes get the most out of their performance. As a Six Sigma Black Belt, she brings a fresh and unique approach to Operations Consulting drawing on her 10 years of combined experience in law enforcement, government contracting, property management, customer service, non profit industry, and education.

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