The Mentoring Edge

The Mentoring Edge

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“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

Get a mentor. And be a mentor. There are huge benefits to both mentoring someone else, and to having your own mentor. I really do believe in this! Why else would I dedicate my life and my business to this profession, otherwise?

Like any elite performer, if you have a vision of what you want to achieve, or want to realise a vision, you must invest in the right level of support. Talk to highly successful people, and you’ll find that they’ve had coaches or mentors all along: whether formal or informal.

There doesn’t have to be an imbalance of power, or greater or lesser experience or skills. Mentors can support one another on an equal basis, questioning and challenging one another to find solutions. It’s not necessary to know more than someone else – but it is necessary to ask the right questions, to get someone thinking for themselves. Mentoring relationships work often best operating beyond the directive approach of a senior ‘telling it how it is’, to one in which both learn from each other.

Feedback radically enhances performance over the long term, and mentoring creates a strong feedback loop. In Bounce by Matthew Seyed, he emphasises the importance of skilful delivery of feedback, and the role of the mentor – able to give feedback from an external viewpoint and to provide another perspective. Ask yourself:

What compelling reasons do you have to get even better?
How can you help others, to get your business even better?
How have you coached, mentored and encouraged, recently?

Motivation might be triggered by a ‘spark’ – but you need something more to sustain the flame, or it’s not destined to burn for long. As Syed says, ‘the attainment of excellence is a long-term process’. Mentoring and coaching are vital elements in sustaining the momentum towards improved performance. Although coaching started in the field of sports, it very quickly moved into the business arena, producing elite entrepreneurs performing at the top of their own game.

Your mentor is the guardian of your vision, the champion of your achievements, or the helicopter above you: objective enough to see the big picture and find the best way forward, and involved and knowledgeable enough to get the best out of you. It is important to have someone on your side who shares your vision, and from whom you can learn. Use them, their wisdom and experience to help you to break down your own personal barriers; to keep your focus, and to keep things simple.

There are tremendous benefits in working with a mentor:

  • confidential, unbiased and non-judgemental support
  • a safe place to ‘offload’ and discuss problems
  • ways of resolving problems and issues
  • practical help and advice
  • new perspectives on your business
  • new ideas
  • new skills and learning
  • enhanced performance and greater achievement
  • professional challenge
  • insight into yourself, personally and professionally

In fact, the benefits – especially to performance – are so great, I’d say that everyone needs to be mentored, and everyone needs to mentor others.

Do some research and find out the best person who can give you what you want – whether it’s advice, motivation, challenge, guidance, a sounding board, the benefit of their experience, or whatever it is that you want from them. Be clear of the outcomes you want – even if it’s ‘to have more clarity’, or to ‘set goals’ – then choose the coach or mentor who can best give you the means to achieve them.

Being mentored by the right person can really help you perform huge things. Mentoring someone else also really helps you to be self reflective, more accountable, and better at what you do. By considering your own performance and giving others great advice, you will raise your own bar.

With a mentor, you can achieve greater things in far less time. A great mentor will challenge you and stretch you beyond your comfort zone to enable you to be the best you can be. In terms of selecting the right mentor, I think that is a really interesting process. You want someone you can work with, but not someone who’s so friendly and amenable that they won’t confront you. A ‘critical friend’ is required. Find someone who challenges you and gets the best out of you. It should not be easy and comfortable for you – it has to be about getting results, getting you where you want to be and delivering more than you ever thought possible.

Have a mentor to support you, by all means. Take this to the next level. Or two. Experience mentoring fully to appreciate the great benefits. Be a mentor to someone in your organisation (or another company – you can always charge for your expertise and experience!) and note the valuable returns you get from the process. They are not necessarily monetary (if you charge) or purely altruistic (if you don’t), either! You’ll find it enlightening, inspiring, thought-provoking, wit-sharpening, and vital for your own development – contributing to your own success, and sense of achievement. It will cause you to be more reflective, and more creative. You’ll find solutions to problems you didn’t know existed, and ways to improve and enhance performance. If it works for you, it will work for others. And when you see the benefits for yourself, get everyone else to do the same. Develop a mentoring philosophy within your company. Create an ethos of mentoring to spread the benefits, and encourage the approach throughout the whole of your organisation.

If you want to achieve optimal performance – get a mentor, and mentor someone else. You’ll find it an amazing experience that stimulates and inspires you, informs your success, and takes you way beyond your expectations!

Think about how much more you could achieve if you had someone to mentor you to be the best that you can be!

Think how much further you can go with your own mentor or coach, for personalised support, tailored assistance, and real challenge to suit your own nature and preferences?

Whose success do you admire, and from whom can you learn?

Who would benefit from working with you as their mentor?

Which issues or aspects of your performance could be enhanced to achieve your desired outcomes?

Who will ask you searching questions that drive you to re-evaluate and revise your own practices?

Further Reading:
Bounce by Matthew Seyed (Amazon Link UK, US)

Breakthrough by David Carter (Amazon Link UK, US)

If the above topic, or indeed any of my blogs are of interest to you, then contact me and let’s talk! Drop me an email at getintouch@marcwinn.com.

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