Did you know that the number one secret to the success of many entrepreneurs and business executives is mentorship? Whether you are an entrepreneur seeking to grow your business or individual seeking to build your personal brand and a successful career, mentoring is one of the most important contributors to business success. Many fortune 5000 companies are intentional with their mentorship programs, employing Software such as MentorCity, WisdomShare, and MentorCloud to support the professional development of their executives.
The importance of mentorship is also demonstrated in other areas of lives. For example, the minute you are accepted into an advanced degree programme, you are assigned a mentor to guide you for the entire period of your research. Very often your mentor begins by trashing your proposal because your topic is not viable for research. Importantly, an academic mentor helps you correct your many errors, keeps you accountable so that you graduate on time. Without a mentor, I would still be working on my dissertation.
The same is true for organizations such as Toastmasters which provide mentors to help you become a competent speaker and leader. My first mentor was my high school business teacher who not only ensured that I took all the right subjects but opened doors to my first job. Other mentors along my professional path have shared knowledge and insights that have helped me make better decisions.
Research on mentoring found the following:
75% of executives point to mentoring relationships as having a key role in their career.
71% of fortune 500 companies have formal mentoring programs in place.
95% of mentoring participants report that the experience motivated them to excellence.
Businesses which participated in mentoring saw revenues increase at a faster rate than those which did not.
Mentoring matters! It could help you double your success. It could also help you find direction if technological disruptions or other factors have left you at a personal or professional crossroad. Here are my five top reasons why you should find a mentor:
A mentor can help you achieve your goals faster
The most important reason for mentorship is to help you achieve your goals and get you where you want to in the most efficient way. Achieving your goals is not always a straight path and is often riddled with delays and derailments. A mentor who is adequately qualified and experienced can provide information and knowledge which will shorten your learning curve, keep you focused, and help you navigate a faster path to your goals.
A mentor will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses
The key to obtaining maximum benefits from your mentorship program is to remain teachable; to accept advice and take action. A mentor is like a teacher who can quickly identify the strengths and weaknesses of a student. Identifying strengths and weaknesses is critical to ensuring that you improve on weaknesses but focus on areas of strength, and on core competencies. Chances of success are greater where strengths are amplified in growing your career or in building your business.
Mentors help you to reduce mistakes
Many business mistakes can be reduced or avoided when the knowledge and experience of a mentor are leveraged. In the current hyper-competitive and unforgiving business environment, mistakes can be costly. Very often, those ahead of us have made some of the same errors that we are about to make. A mentor is well positioned to provide the guidance needed to help you avoid mistakes that could derail your business.
Mentors help you at critical decision points
Entrepreneurship involves making the right decisions at the right time to solve problems and make money. A mentee can tap into the skills of a mentor who is able to see an issue from multiple angles, guide the decision-making process and recommend proven strategies to achieve success. The decision-making process is enhanced because you are able to share confidential information and get feedback from a trusted mentor who will not steal your ideas.
A mentor can point you to new opportunities
Whether you are building a business or your career, a mentor can help you to identify new opportunities and share ideas and that can provide a springboard to the start of a new venture, or a new position. A good mentor can also play the role of connector, linking you to a network of friends, colleagues and business partners that you would otherwise not have access to.
A mentor provides encouragement
Discouragement is a real issue in life and in business. It results from broken dreams, failure, and loss. On the flipside of discouragement is encouragement which means giving someone confidence, hope, and support. When discouragement comes, as it sometimes will, a mentor will provide the encouragement and the persuasion you need to keep pushing towards your goal.
The beauty of mentorship is that it is usually free, even though in recent times paid mentors have become available to those who want more and are willing to pay. However, the majority of mentors are and men and women committed to paying it forward. They are in our communities, in our churches, and workplaces. In fact, in the age of technology, your mentor could be anywhere in the world, connecting with you via Skype, WhatsApp or Zoom.
Regardless of your age, your failures or accomplishments, you can still benefit from a mentor. It is not a sign of weakness! According to Shark Tank’s Daymond John, having a mentor is one of the main reasons why people are successful. A bold and successful entrepreneur, with 107 companies, Daymond John still looks to his mentors for guidance. Find more than one mentors if you wish. Be open to accepting guidance, remain teachable, and act on the advice provided. Whether you are 21 or 71, finding a mentor could help you double your success!
Dr. Elaine Williams-Morgan is a Media & Management Consultant, Entrepreneur, and Business Educator. She directs YourBusiness International and blogs about Innovation, Social Media, and Entrepreneurship. Follow her posts at Focus on innovation with Dr. Elaine Williams-Morganand at YourBusiness International Follow Elaine on Twitter @DrElainea and on Facebook