A good coach will be the most important person in your life. They might not be your good friend, but they can help you achieve things you never thought possible. Those who have attained greatness in life often have a mentor at some point in their lives. If you are serious about success in small business, a mentor might make all the difference.
WHAT IS A BIZ COACH?
A mentor is someone who helps you set and achieve career goals, encourages you to take risks, and think outside the box. A mentor guides you to expand your way of thinking.
They should have more experience than you, but be able to see parallels between both of your careers. They can come from all walks of life, and you'll know them when you find them.
A good mentor should encourage your development – with their guidance.
GATES DID IT ALONE. WHY DO I NEED ONE?
A strong coaching relationship will help you to learn how to take control of your career, increase your self-confidence, receive critical feedback, and hone your negotiating skills. Not to mention, they will also provide serious networking opportunities.
You will set career goals and they will help you achieve them.
WHERE DO I FIND ONE?
Guidance doesn’t always come from people with the same experiences. They don’t have to be professionals in your field, either. You can find a coach anywhere. Here are some things to remember:
1. Look around you
It might sound obvious, but a lot of people don’t even bother to do this. The mentor you are looking for might be right under your nose. You need to look at the people around you. Ask yourself: Do I know anyone with these skills already?
Cast your net wide if you can’t think of anyone straight away. The easiest way to begin a mentoring relationship is with someone you already know.
2. Start networking in your industry
This is another easy one. Are there any conferences available? Awards and function lunches? Meetup groups? Reddit boards? Quora topics? Face-to-face networking is always preferable to online interactions. You’ve got more of a chance to wow them with your charm and develop a rapport quickly. However, don’t be afraid to look online if you can’t find one elsewhere.
3. Check out some community groups (even if they aren’t in your industry)
We already mentioned Meetup, but you can always find people involved in entrepreneurship groups. Check out business functions near you to find like-minded business people.
4. Join an established mentoring group.
There are programs set up to provide mentoring services already. If you’re after an established framework and don’t know where to start this may be a good choice. Organisations like Mowgli, MentorsMe and MicroMentor offer opportunities to connect mentors. For a personal development program that is similar to a traditional mentoring relationship, check out programs like Landmark and Choice Center.
PLEASE, PLEASE WILL YOU BE MINE
This might be the hardest step of all. Once you’ve established some sort of relationship with your potential mentor you need to ask them to actually be your mentor. You won’t always get a “yes” answer. People might not have enough time or feel that they’re up to it. However, the more prepared you are the better. Make sure you have these things sorted out before you ask:
1. Know How Much Time You Need
Have an idea of how much time you’d like to set aside each week or session to work together. Keep in mind how busy both of your schedules are. A lunch session might be an easy option.
2. Know What You Need
Think about what you’d like to accomplish in the sessions. Your potential mentor is going to want to know what you’ll both get out of it.
3. Face-to-Face Try and ask them face-to-face
If that’s not possible do it over the phone. Think of it like asking someone to be in your bridal party. It’s a special relationship, and you need to treat it as such.
4. Don’t be Forceful
If they sound disinterested don’t pursue it – there may be reasons behind it personal to them. There are always other potential mentors out there.
A mentor can be one of the most important people in your life. They can take you from a place of obscurity, and show you have to achieve your dreams. Too many people go throughout life without ever finding one, and that is largely their fault. Mentors are all around you, but you need to have an open mind and see them when they are there.
Mentors teach you things that you would never learn on your own. They can help you think in new ways. A good mentor can give you a lifetime of knowledge over a few years of tutelage.
You stand to gain a lot. Go out there and find one.
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