How can I be an amazing mentor?
I am thinking about becoming a volunteer for Score or another small business mentorship program. I have been a small business owner for over 30 years and I want to help others start their business. I have been thinking about experiences I could share, as well as different management styles that have and haven't worked for me. What other factors should I consider before committing to being a mentor? What traits makes a great mentor? Thank you for sharing...
Hi Deborah this is one of the greatest ways to give back. Part of being a great mentor is choosing to be one in the first place. You nailed that! A successful mentor is willing to listen to the challenges/needs/wants the mentee wishes to address. Once that is clear the mentor is able to share the experiences, both good and bad that pertain. The most powerful of mentoring relationships is an on-going conversation. Both you and your mentees have much to learn from one another. I have a hunch you are going to be great at this.
The number one skill to work on is listening. You have all the business and management expertise and experience needed; the trick is to discipline yourself to listen and hold back on talking and giving advice too soon. I try to remind myself to keep asking questions, especially open-ended questions, and listening carefully to the answers before I say anything.
Mentoring is Like Coaching. It is not Managing. To be a good Coach, you have to help people go where they Really need to go- and it be their idea to go there. Mentors are not usually the Best at their Craft. Not the best Sellers, Best marketeers, etc. But they have the ability to channel the Mistakes they have made in the past as Lessons for those who they are trying to help now! If you are a Control Freak, don't do it. Control is an Illusion - he most you can hope for is Coordination.
If you are considering Score, my advice is to just get started.
There is a formal orientation & certification process.
Our prospective mentors sit in on the monthly meetings and "shadow" mentors.
If not your cup of tea, you can always discontinue.
PS - Another way to contribute would be to conduct training events associated with your local score chapter rather than 1:1 mentoring.
First you have to be A1 knowledge in your field. Start a blog about your expertise.
Then start a meet up group and have other similar like minded mentors with different skill set, invite other start up Entrepreneurs and investors to the meet up. This way you have a variety of expert in the field to help jump start the new business economy. Make sure you have name tags to distinguish the group to make for easier communications.
I too have been a small business owner and a former corporate leader/board member. I always viewed my job as a leader to be: teach, enrich, and develop others to be successful and accountable.
A good mentor is honest, transparent, selfless, and takes a genuine interest in others. Paying it forward on some level is part of our calling and has always been a fulfilling component of my moral compass.
Commitments that work are truly reciprocal for the mentor and mentee. Choose wisely whether it be a volunteer for Score or another way to mentor via an adjunct position with a local college or university. Best regards, Mark
You already have some of answers. Go to score.org to vol. to counsel or begin your sorting out process by phone or email at nearest chapter. You may reach Chapter Director, or a committee head for volunteers. If it seems like a fit, there is plenty of training. You will not be sent solo to sink or swim near term, perhaps you will always have two counselors.
There is also a Score National email counseling system. Once you feel confident about skills, you can sign on and off at will to answer Score National email questions - computer matched by skills.
To become a mentor you should have one mentor so that you know how to become a good mentor. Once you understand that to become a mentor you need to always think positive and emphasize on attitude change towards the customer.
Once you adapt your attitude towards the customer you will be successful mentor as in small business more than half of the small business owner has enthusiasm filled when they start. Mentor has to give real life examples with scenario for your audience to believe on you. They need motivation for doing things differently rather than in similar fashion as it was done in past. Mentor always show positive side of the scenario with great potential to do well. Encouragement is also a key towards a good mentoring of audience. Please choose your great qualities and make a good presentation to your audience.
All the answers already shared are excellent and include some very pertinent qualities in mentor - ability to listen, to give the right advice, ask the right questions, guide - not parent (I like this particularly).
Additionally, remember a mentor should establish himself / herself as someone to whom the mentee feels a strong sense of comfort to turn to, not only with their professional questions but also for any other issue, if required. This is my personal experience, and unless that bond is established, a mentor often gets restricted to playing a professional guide, rather than a 'friend, philopher, guide' rolled into one - termed collectively as ' mentor'.
Hello Deborah, I think that is very important to listen to the audience needs, for example: They are struggling on the distribution channel if they have a retail product and you know how to handle that there is a good starting to find the way to guide them through how to reach the success.
Try to put in their situation and coach them base on how you handle your career.
I'm currently ghostwriting a book on mentoring for the largest mentorship hub in the world and have interviewed some 20 top mentors this past year. The resounding answer to your question? Don't give your mentees answers. Your role as a mentor is not to parent them, but to support, teach and encourage them. THEY must come to you not just for "help" but with an agenda, goals and a plan. Your role is to ask the questions that help them ask their own questions. You are the person who sees the potential inside them, and helps them find it. There are skills you can teach, but to be the best mentor is to know when to answer a question, and when to ask one. For instance, if they say, "What do I do?" you ask, "What are your options?" You push them to stop, inventory their resources and figure it out. You may prompt them along the way, or point them towards a potential resource, but never do the problem solving for them.
My advice is be yourself, share your thinking/experience, listen to your mentee. Set a discussion with your mentee. The exchange that you will set is the best gift for both mentee and mentor.
All of the answers listed below are excellent,,, I've been in Score for 9 years so if you have any questions not answered yet, I will try to answer them for you.....
Listen, listen, listen. You may never provide an answer other than where to find information or law or policies to consider. Question. Use successive refinement to guide toward solutions. Write an outline for the material that you may discuss so that you can provide some degree of structure. Think about what you have memorized and if and how it has helped.
The best mentors are good listeners who rather than give advice right off ask insightful questions that help the mentee to honestly face their own thoughts, fears and actions and then ask, "Have you tried..." and "What if..." and finally, "How can I help?"
You can get started at SCORE if that's a good fit, you can also practice honing your answer/advice skills at sites like this or others. I found a good opportunity by going back through my College, most Universities facilitate mentor programs.
If you are frankly asking this question, I may say as frankly as you are that it is obvious, you can not be an amazing mentor or a mentor! A mentor never ask this question... You can just be some one sharing own experiences, which is not mentoring.
Deborah, My background is very close to your's and I am a mentor/coach. I mentor small business owners by one simple technic. It's all about asking questions, not providing all the answers. With this approach I am empowering the client to "Think." Most entrepreneurs know the answers, but don't know how to bring those answers to the forefront. Questions and patient pauses is a super tool to achieving success. www.TimRicke.com
You may give instructions on spending money, and allocating money for the small business. I am into small business now. This is fifth month and I have not made profit. Can someone advice me on how to make profit on small income.
1. BE YOURSELF
this comes out naturally and you don't have to put effort.
That being said, think about how you can make things fun and what you do to living things up in your personal life, and marry that with this role. Your style revolves around you,
2. IGNORE JUDGMENT
You are the only one who can CHANGE, Change yourself. You cannot change others, at most INSPIRE them by being who you are.
For starters Deborah, your first move to wanting to be a mentor is stupendous. Mentors are not coaches. Need to say that first because many think they are the same. Coaches will help lead in a direction, mentors teach what they know.
You'll be great, just show what you know and learned. One thing to remember, everyone is different, and so are businesses. Be open, be honest, most of all be you.