Mentorships allow us to build on the foundation of knowledge and business acumen that successful leaders already possess. This is especially true for entrepreneurs that rely on strategy and relationships to build and grow their business. But finding a mentor can be a challenge; Olivet Nazarene University surveyed 3000 people and found that nearly half of the respondents have never had a mentor, and those that did built their mentorships organically from existing relationships.
So how do you find a good mentor if it doesn’t happen organically? A good mentor is more than just a successful business person. To build a strong mentorship, both the mentor and mentee must get something out of the relationship. Here are some good traits and examples to look for when finding the right mentor for you.
What Makes A Good Mentor?
Looking at those in your industry who possess the success that you want to achieve is a great start, but a strong mentorship is about more than idolizing success. Finding the right mentor for an entrepreneur that wants to pave their own path requires looking at the path, not the finish line. The key isn’t in their success, it’s in the strategies they used to get there.
When you are looking for a mentor, look at the journey someone took from the beginning of their career to the point of success. Coach Legend, Founder of Legend Credit Repair, went from working a nine-to-five job to a seven-figure career. His willingness to ask for help is part of what got him there. Now, he is paying it forward by creating a mentorship culture with his team as well as his clients. He is building his business by mentoring clients—teaching them how to repair their credit and build a secure financial future. His strategy to get from point A to point B is built on his mindset that you’ve never arrived. Removing ego from the equation makes room for a type of confidence that is born out of humility. He works side-by-side with his employees, never asking them to do something that he isn’t willing to do himself.
The natural mentorships Olivet Nazarene University noted in their study are likely to build around someone like Coach Legend because of his willingness to be on the team, not above it. This is a key trait of a strong mentor. It is not enough for a mentor to be successful in your industry; to be a great mentor, they must also be a teacher who is driven to help you succeed.
Mentorships In The Workplace
A successful mentorship can propel a career forward and lay the foundation for a strong business, and many companies are taking notice. According to a management professor and the dean of the University of Miami’s graduate school, Terri Scandura, 71% of Fortune 500 companies have mentoring programs.
Finding a mentor at your workplace, whether through a company program or not, helps ensure that your mentor has the correct industry background—and connecting with a coworker can help create job satisfaction. According to Scandura, employees with mentors make more money and gain promotions more quickly. And the businesses benefit too—mentees tend to have higher productivity and are more likely to stay with the company.
But many entrepreneurs aren’t tied to a large company with potential mentors. As business creators, entrepreneurs may need to look outside of their own business to find a mentor. External organizations, like professional clubs that focus on your industry are a great option. You can also look into and attend relevant conferences or events where you can interact and connect with others in your field.
However you find your mentor, remember that mentorships are about more than idolizing your mentor’s success; think critically about their background, the path they took to get to where they are, and their willingness to share in your journey and success. Good mentorships are relationships. They work best when the people in them have a strong connection based on shared goals and a desire for success.