“A coach is someone that sees beyond your limits and guides you to greatness” – Michael Jordan
To all my dream chasers, this one is for you. I was watching the Australian version of the Voice in their previous season. This got me thinking about the power of mentorship. The mix of talent, both performers and the coaches in one room astounded me. I always wondered if they have decided which coach they want to work with before they go on stage (I assume they have but who knows right!).
When I watched Boy George, Delta, Guy Sebastian and Kelly, I found it fascinating how they pitch to the contestants. How they are the best in the room and why you should work with me.
Each sells their expertise and what makes them most relevant to the contestant achieving their dreams so they will pick them. From this i figured The Voice can be used as the example when asking people if they have a mentor or have considered mentorship.
First of all I believe you need to have a mentor, end of story. I have been fortunate to have wonderful mentors in my life, mostly unpaid and their input has been nothing short of phenomenal.
Mentors help us save time by helping us find the pathway we need quickly. They save us mistakes and open us up to their networks. Without them we feel like getting traction takes a long time and it’s a big effort to make things happen. So I consider mentorship a cheat code to success in any sphere of your life.
All of the successful people I know have had coaches in one form or another. Some are mentored one one one, others are mentored in groups or teams. The bottom line is that mentorship is a key ingredient in our journey to succeed.
That said a lot of people have asked me to mentor them or how to find a mentorship program that fits them. This is were I came up with these 4 rules to help people make sense of this necessary but daunting task to find a mentor.
The Rules of finding the right mentor are:
1. Know your goal:
Be clear about what you’re trying to achieve for the next 12 months. 90 days is too short for a strong mentorship relationship and 5 years is too long. Just focus on what you want by the end of the year. For example if your goal is to improve your networks then find a mentor who not only does that well but can articulate and show you how they do it so well.
2. Look for the person who has done that already.
Ask your friends, colleagues, Facebook mates, LinkedIn connections, Google it or Tweet it. Industry bodies can also be a good place to start. You’re not just looking for any mentor. You’re looking for the one that will help you achieve that goal that you’re hoping to nail so they may not be in your immediate sphere, you will need to cast your net wide. With the power of the internet you can even start a mentorship relationship across continents.
3. Ask if they mentor people.
Once you’ve found the right person you may have to pay them for their time. This is an investment in your future and the reason that person has been able to do it means they are successful and likely very busy. A coffee or buying lunch for them is not always going to cut it. Alternatively you can offer to do something for them like helping them on a project. It has taken them years to work out what you’re wanting to learn in an hour so be respectful of the value they bring. Even if they do not charge you, offer a token of appreciation. What this shows is you value their mentorship relationship with you, you value their time.
4. Relationship is key.
Make sure you like and trust them. They don’t have to be your best friend but it’s going to be an open conversation most times. Make sure you’re comfortable to work with them. Your mentor will grill you, they will call you on your weaknesses and they will force you to face your fears. If you are not comfortable talking to them about anything relating to your journey then I suggest you find another mentor.
It’s not an easy thing to do but if done right you will rip great benefits. I suggest spending enough time going through those 4 rules as you plan your mentorship journey. So, on your development plan or goal board make sure you have the words “find a mentor” so that you can get to the end of the year and look back being proud of what you achieved! It’s never too late to get mentored up. Let’s go!
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