Famous self-made entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Sir Richard Branson give so much credit to their mentors when it comes to the success of their careers. These industry leaders despite their brilliance in their fields recognize the need to ask others for advice and direction, and in turn share the wisdom they’ve absorbed to the next generation of entrepreneurs and thought leaders through mentorship.
So what exactly is mentorship? While teaching’s goal is to impart knowledge and information through instruction, the dynamics of mentoring is, most of the time, a partnership. The role of the mentor is to build capability, to bring out your innate abilities through guidance and support. Mentors help you discover the answers to problems you face so you could come up with solutions based on your own experiences. They can also provide expert advice in a particular area, and give you candid feedback and suggestions on how you might want to go in a specific time frame.
Sumi Krishnan, CEO of K4 Solutions believes in the indispensable benefits of mentoring. In an article she wrote for Entrepreneurship.com, she mentions three kinds of mentors that can help build a business.
First are mentors from afar, which novices can learn from without one-to-one consultations in the form of books, podcasts, articles and other mediums. The next one is industry-specific mentors: those who have walked the walk and talked the talk. These mentors know very well what you are going through, since they’ve gone through it themselves: parents, teachers, colleagues and peers. The last are direct mentors: leadership coaches and consultants whose services might come with a fee. From time management, leadership styles to balance sheets and payroll services, they provide their clients with tips, techniques and methodologies to help manage and grow their businesses and careers.
Benefits of Mentoring
Relationships built through mentoring come with advantages that both parties can benefit from.
- Mentoring educates and increases skills. — Mentoring gives mentors the chance to reconnect, to update their knowledge, and also reminds them how to listen actively and help them improve their problem-solving strategies. Mentees on the other hand, get educated on how to accept constructive feedback and improve on their skills.
- Getting a mentor speeds up the learning process —There’s a lot you can learn from reading a book or following instructions from a how to video, but getting direct feedback from a skilled and experienced mentor can increase your mastery tenfold and also save you so much time that can be spent on learning other things.
- Mentorship improves communication and leadership styles —Managing and motivating people are skills that every entrepreneur needs to have. Mentorship brings out the best in people through empowering the individual, and also helps improve his weaknesses. Exposure to different ideas and strategies also define the kind of leader and manager the mentee will be in the future
- Mentorship creates opportunities —Networking is one of the most important aspects of business. Knowing who to get in touch with when the need arises will save a lot of time and resources. Through mentorships, both parties get the chance to grow their network and connect with peers.
- Mentorship gives people a chance to pay it forward. — Mentorships allow mentors to share the knowledge and skills they have acquired and pass it on to the next generation of leaders. This process enables them to pay it forward to those who will come after, to encourage others to pursue their dreams and also help them build their legacy through those who will share what they have learned.
Having a mentor increases the potential of your business success. Research shows that 70 percent of mentored businesses survive more than five years. A trained eye can help point out weaknesses in your business that you don’t know about and help find solutions to turn it around.