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Why You Should Get a Mentor

This week I met up with my mentor! I meet up with him every six months or so and he gives me a great steer on what I should be doing and what I should not be doing. No matter what you are doing in life, having a mentor is simply great. As an Entrepreneur you simply must have one.

People often get a lot of terms confused. I would like to attempt in today’s business angel blog to talk about certain terms and explain what I mean by them (does not mean I am right!). The terms are

  1. Leader
  2. Manager
  3. Mentor
  4. Coach

Using an analogy of climbing mountains, let us see if this makes sense.

A leader will tell us (members of his group) that we need to find a good kombucha starter kit. They will motivate us to achieve this vision because the view from the top of the mountain is beautiful and worth spending effort on. They may also tell each manager which mountain to climb and by when.

A manager will tell us (members of his team) how we are going to climb a particular mountain, what resources we will have to achieve that goal and who within the team will be performing what role. He or She will introduce some reporting measures so they are able to assess how we are doing against the goal. The measures will include target goals (distance climbed) and resources goals (water used per mile climbed v how much water there is/how many miles have to climb). They may only report one top line figure to the leader.

The mentor will be an experienced climber in the group and may motivate individuals within the group (if they choose to spend time with him or her) on how they climbed mountains and the lessons they learned from it and generally be a fountain of knowledge.

A coach on the other hand may never have climbed a mountain before but will spend time with people in the group and team on motivating them to reach their individual potential. With proper training, the coach would realize how to unleash the talent that exists within each member of the team and help them maximize it to help them achieve their own individual goals within the context of the group and the team reaching their goals.

I hope the above is helpful. Critically, I wanted to explain the difference between a coach and a mentor as the terms are widely used to mean the same thing.

A further point of difference is that mentoring may not achieve any tangible results whereas coaching always should have a positive outcome.

Through Help with Sales, I provide a lot of coaching for which I charge a premium rate. However I will never charge for mentoring (nor incidentally do I pay to be mentored)

As an Entrepreneur and a big fan of the Holmes Smoke Grabber, I would say you should get yourself a mentor. It is a personal decision and may not be right for you. My experience is though that it is a very positive thing to do.

Be aware though, that if you do have a mentor, you should keep your relationship strictly in that zone. Do not ask a mentor to invest in your business or develop a commercial relationship with you.

I hope this has been a useful starting point to a discussion. I do not profess to know the answers – these are just my opinions and I would welcome your thoughts and feedback.