Not everyone needs a mentor. Some people are okay with where they are in life and business. And that’s fine. Mentorship is not a necessity in most instances.
Mentorship and coaching can only be of great value to those who are choosing to create an extraordinary life and excel in a chosen vocation.
Being mentored by someone who has achieved significantly greater results in their life and career than you can be an intimidating process. Finding the right mentor requires patience, vulnerability, genuine desire to succeed, and readiness for your backside to be kicked (in a positive way).
That being said, here are six principles I’ve learned from the experience of finding one of the best mentors and coaches in their organisations and even industries.
To me, this is the most fundamental principle of all.
Being coachable means being genuinely open-minded to receiving critical feedback and improving upon it. No mentor will be willing to work with a person who makes it difficult for them to give advice to by being resistant or defensive.
Mentorship can make you vulnerable. And it should. If you are not willing to really open up to your mentors, it means you have something to hold on to. This will create a disturbance in your attitude towards learning.
Often, the reason for this problem is your social mask. Drop it. Practice being your authentic self as the first step towards attaining a mentor worth having.
Reach out smart and hard
“When the student is ready the teacher will come”.
I take the word ‘ready’ to mean ‘prepared’. To be prepared, you need to work – network, reach out, email, message, call, and do all of it in with integrity and a sincere desire to learn.
Eric Barker summarises it perfectly in his book, ‘Barking Up the Wrong Tree’: “If people don’t notice your work, you are doing something wrong. You are either not working hard enough, or not doing enough outreach”.
After working with different mentors and coaches, I’m very thankful to my inner-compass for almost always steering me towards the right people. Trusting my intuition when making decisions about whether I should continue developing relationships with certain mentors has been the most effective tool in making the right choice.
You shouldn’t forget that, by reaching out to someone for help, you’re letting them into not only your business or career but also your life.
Don’t waste anyone’s time
In other words, have some common sense when searching for a mentor.
Firstly, research the person diligently. The right mentor should inspire you and scare you a bit at the same time.
Secondly, ensure the questions you ask them can’t easily be answered by a Google search. A mentor wants to keep his or her interest in a working relationship but they can easily lose it if you’re not using them to their fullest potential.
Just like getting a mentor, keeping a mentor requires you to keep on your toes.
Before seeking any advice from your mentor, ask yourself this question: “If I were to pay my mentor $1000 an hour, would I ask this question or could I find the answer myself?”
Successful entrepreneurs, high-performance professionals, and top industry creatives are busy people. At the early stages of a mentorship, it will be your job to keep in touch with them.
When I had the opportunity to be mentored by someone highly successful in the coaching industry, I made sure I would attend every single event, workshop, and talk he held. I wanted him to know that I was a committed person who was worth working with.
Every time there was a meaningful reason to, I would send an email or a message to remind him that I was there and that I had a strong desire to learn from him.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that there’s a fine line between bothering someone and building a professional relationship with them.
Make them proud
No, it’s not the same as making your parents proud…
When you find a mentor, your goals should be aligned. You want to become awesome and a mentor wants to look good as a byproduct of you being awesome.
In essence, to keep a great mentor, you need to become great. You don’t need to achieve Olympic-level results instantly but you must work hard and be willing to follow up on your mentor’s advice, doing whatever it takes to progress.
Have different mentors
It’s ok to switch mentors, to have different mentors, or to have multiple mentors at the same time. In fact, a mentor doesn’t need to be older than you nor financially or socially more successful than you.
However, what they do need to have is a deeper understanding of the subject you want to excel in. They also need to demonstrate greater results in it.
You also want to avoid developing just one perspective. That’s why having more than one mentor can cultivate a better understanding of how to achieve your desired results.
In addition to this principle, I encourage you to have a student mindset as often as possible. View your peers, partners, and colleagues as people who can teach you something new. That takes us back to the very first and most important principle: be coachable.
The bottom line is, you will find a worthy mentor if you really need one but you’ve got to have a strong enough reason to do so.
That reason is within you – could it be that you want to build a great company, become one of the best in your industry, or write a bestselling book?
Finally, mentorship or coaching is absolutely one of the best investments you can make in yourself.
Learned something new? Take at least one principle and apply it this week.
Open your email, Facebook messenger, or Instagram and reach out to people who inspire you.
And remember, never ask for mentorship. Instead, offer help. How to properly ask for mentorship? I will save that topic for another article… stay tuned!
If you liked what you learned today, feel free to subscribe to a weekly dose of practical and inspirational advice. I write mostly from my own experience or the experience of the entrepreneurs I’ve personally worked with or was mentored by.