Written by Jeffrey R. Armstrong – President/Owner of Armstrong Capital
Your favorite Master Note Buyer – Straightforward, Honest, Fair…
We can all think of at least one person whose path has crossed our own and left us forever the better for it. Maybe this person arrived at a time in our life when we were feeling negative, discouraged, uninspired, or outmatched by life’s challenges. After time spent around or in their company, however, we came away feeling refreshed, encouraged, renewed, and determined to overcome…with a dream of one day helping someone else in turn.
This experience, which is common to all of us, forms the foundation of the partnership known as mentoring. The basic definition of a mentor is a trusted guide who has knowledge and experience in a certain area and is willing and able to share it. The basic definition of a mentee is a person who is in need of guidance and support and is willing and able to receive it.
A mentor is a person with specific qualifications and a trustworthy, caring role model. A mentor has the life experience and provides unique perspective, guidance, and encouragement. Still, to be a good mentor, they fill the needs that you are lacking in your ability to run your business, and must be able to advise you.
Mentors possess many great qualities, which include (but are not limited to): kindness, respect for self and others, compassion, the ability to articulate clearly and kindly, patience, good listening skills, humility, inner strength, the wisdom to seek appropriate support even while supporting others, an awareness of and respect for the limitations of the mentoring role, the strength to say “yes” and “no” when appropriate, well-roundedness, successful navigation of life challenges, perseverance, and the discernment to differentiate the temporary struggle from the enduring human being who is struggling.
Keep in mind that your mentor’s experience in starting and maintaining their own business and making a success of it, is what you will be learning from. Problems, mistakes, and wrong decisions that they made can be beneficial to you. Making those mistakes did not make them a failure instead it gave him valuable experience that can be passed on. Lastly, a mentor is there to help; they are not there to do the job for you. They are not magicians, but rather advisors who wish you to succeed.
Here are some of the characteristics and qualities of a good mentor. A good mentor should:
- Be a current practitioner in the area or field of interest.
- Listen when you talk.
- Be available when needed.
- Have personal experience that can be referred to when you have a problem.
- Show you how to be practical, and achieve your goals with the least risk and cost.
- Teach you or provide you with the method of learning what is needed when the mentor sees a gap in your knowledge
- Know how to dole out constructive criticism while at the same time giving you the support and direction you need to correct an error.
- Give you very specific information on how to correct a problem without pushing you harder or faster than you can go. They are not there to force you; they are there to lead and guide you.
- Care about every aspect of your business or career. They should be able to show you how what you’ve done will accomplish your goals or how it might hurt them. They should be ready with alternatives if they are necessary.
- Be trustworthy. Of utmost importance, you must be able to completely trust this individual implicitly.
No matter how extraordinary the mentor might be the mentor/mentee relationship is a two way street. The mentor should not take on just anyone that asks or can pay their fee. The mentor should interview the potential mentee to see if they would be a good fit. Here are some of the characteristics and qualities of a good mentee. A good mentee should:
- Understand the Mentor’s time is valuable
- Ask questions
- Be willing to be mentored
- Strive to give his/her best at all times
- Accept criticism graciously
- Learn from mistakes
- Have the courage to try new things
- Accept responsibility
- Be open and honest
- Be respectful and grateful
- Listen, watch, learn and grow
What qualities does a good mentor Possess? Mentors possess many great qualities, which include (but are not limited to): kindness, respect for self and others, compassion, the ability to articulate clearly and kindly, patience, good listening skills, humility, inner strength, the wisdom to seek appropriate support even while supporting others, an awareness of and respect for the limitations of the mentoring role, the strength to say “yes” and “no” when appropriate, well-roundedness, successful navigation of life challenges, perseverance, and the discernment to differentiate the temporary struggle from the enduring human being who is struggling.
Are there limitations to a mentor’s role? A mentor fulfills a specific role for a specific purpose, and that role is based on the synergy found between the mentee’s need for support in a specific area and the mentor’s life experiences. Mentoring is not a substitution for the advice and contribution of competent instructors and practitioners, nor should a mentor venture to offer advice on matters that fall outside of the purpose and goal of the mentoring partnership. A mentor should continually reinforce to the mentee that any advice or thoughts offered come only from their personal experiences, and may be a variable of quality.
What makes a mentoring partnership work? The value and efficacy of mentoring is determined largely by the mentee’s pro-activeness in making good use of the mentor’s time and guidance. A mentor cannot do the work for the mentee, nor can the mentor make the mentee want to grow. The mentor should instead respond in kind to the mentee’s efforts to keep in touch, to implement agreed upon action plans and report back with results, to take guidance and direction, and to do the hard word necessary to reach stated goals.
What about group mentoring? While the most intensive mentoring experiences will most likely be found in one-on-one partnerships, there is a great deal to be gained from facilitating group mentoring as well. A mentor may notice that there are common topics, themes, wisdom, obstacles and experiences that a number of people together would resonate with at the same time. This is also an excellent avenue for mentees to meet and learn to support one another.
As long as both mentor and mentee wish to continue and find productive value in the partnership, Mentoring relationships can last for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. It seems everyone has a coaching or mentoring program out there these days for everything from baking cupcakes to zoo keeping. Some are qualified for the mentor title and others are deficient. I hope this article helps you in making your decision when you are ready to seek the assistance of a mentor.
Keep on marketing, it’s going to work! TWITA! (That’s What I’m Talking About!) J