Why Having a Business Mentor is a Valuable Asset To Success By Tracy Hastain
Written by Tracy Hastain, founder of Wentworth Consultancy Ltd
A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.”
I wanted to start with this quote because it speaks to the reader on both a personal and professional level, and that for me is a key point when talking about the benefits of mentoring. Because, whatever the reason you take on a mentor, it will be of huge value to you as a person. But let’s talk about why having a business mentor can be an invaluable asset to success and empowerment.
Taking The Right Path
Starting out or at a turning point, the journey for any business owner can often feel lonely, a bit daunting and overwhelming. Even with so much information available today via video, podcasts and workshops, for all the choice they offer, sifting through it can be exhausting and confusing. But the one key thing this information lacks is personal guidance tailored for you. Having a mentor is about building a one-on-one personal relationship with someone who you can trust to advise and help you make the right decisions and navigate the best path for you and your business. I think it’s always good to bear in mind that no successful person has made it entirely on their own.
It’s very easy when we get bogged down with the day-to-day running of a business to lose enthusiasm, however passionate we are about it. A mentor, with their objective perspective, is in the perfect place to observe, offer insights and words of encouragement to keep you motivated, engaged and excited in your business. Not only that, but having someone to bounce ideas off, investigate new initiatives or work through business models will, in the long run, be a major contributing factor to business growth and sustainability. Mentors are also there to hold you accountable, in a way that your team members are not able to do, which is a great way of empowering you with the responsibility to ensure things get done and the business keeps moving forward
“Having a mentor is about building a one-on-one personal relationship with someone who you can trust.”
As a business grows and gains visibility, this can often lead to an influx of potential offers and opportunities. And on the surface of course, this is great, this is what you’ve worked for; and you need all the revenue streams you can get, right? So, our instinct tells us to say ‘yes’ to these proposals, otherwise we’ve missed our chance.
This is where a mentor can keep you grounded and bring you back to the vision and values you set out at the beginning, advising you to sense check against all the practicalities before heading off on projects that may prove too much, too soon.
As a mentor, one golden rule I regularly share is that it is far harder to say ‘no’ than it is to say ‘yes’. But believe me, those opportunities are rarely gone forever and you can do more harm than good for your company if you lose focus and try to run before you walk. A mentor helps keep clarity on where you are headed and there is something very emboldening and liberating about standing firm, being considered and not being pushed into making a decision you’re not ready to make.
Grow in Confidence
The single most effective outcome from having a mentor should be to develop your self-confidence. Now this is of course relative to every individual as we can all be confident in some ways but not in others. It is the role of the mentor to help you identify the areas in which you’re least confident and build on that. A good mentor will help you share your worries, without fear of stigma or reprisals, work through them, offer you reassurance and give you the capacity to feel confident about facing and dealing with challenges.
Being challenged and dealing with issues is a given as a business owner. Therefore, having someone you can discuss those challenges with, in the knowledge that they have the experience and are on your side 100%, is an enormous help in being able to face problems and deal with them confidently and assertively.
“A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you.” Bob Proctor
“Good mentors open the door to success.”
Empowerment is a big word and wields a lot of force and I can see how for some it could be deemed as a bit full-on, superhero-esque, maybe even a little intimidating. A word only linked to those in high office, on the world stage or navigating corridors of power – an exclusive club of ‘empowered’ people. But when you read the definition, you realise how uplifting each description is, and that is exactly what mentoring should be – ‘uplifting’.
For your business, personally or professionally, a mentor should be there to help unlock a side of you that encourages your natural development and empowers you to achieve your goals. An ‘uplifting’, confidence-boosting element which in turn will not only benefit you but your business too – big or small, the benefits are relative and significant.
An essential benefit that mentoring offers is that it enables you to develop your skills, expand your thinking and realise your potential which, when combined, not only improves your personal performance but has a knock-on effect on the performance of your business. As your confidence grows, so does your ability to address strengths and weaknesses, to problem solve, make decisions, take time to consider options and assess the impact of your actions. When you start out working with a mentor, improving your performance might not be your first consideration or even on your initial list but of course, how we perform affects how our business operates. Interestingly, the Claire Bahn Group states: ‘People who elicit the help of a mentor are more likely to create a long-standing company than those who don’t’. A fact that I have seen quoted many times with stats to prove it.
I think the key thing is that we must be receptive and want to continually expand our knowledge and experience which a great mentor will help us do. To keep learning, maximising our potential, developing our skills and improving our performance to become the person we want to be and run the companies we are proud of.
If you employ staff, you may also want to consider providing a mentoring scheme for them. Your team will benefit, just like you, from having the guidance, encouragement and support of a trusted and experienced mentor. In the long run, this will provide a broad range of personal and professional paybacks, which will ultimately lead to improved performance in the workplace. General statistics also show that staff who are mentored are more likely to stay in their roles and are satisfied in their jobs, and that counts for employers as well.
“As your confidence grows, so does your ability to address strengths and weaknesses.”
Article published in Brand You Magazine – Edition 16
Tracy Hastain, founder of Wentworth Consultancy Ltd
Tracy is a business advisor, mentor and strategist, founder of Wentworth Consultancy Ltd. A creative, energetic and passionate professional, she has over 20 years’ experience working across a diverse range of businesses from charitable organisations, public sector services and commercial enterprises.