To Mentor or Not to Mentor…

…That is the question.

I don’t mean should I mentor anyone.  What I mean is should you get a mentor.

This is a question that gets hotly debated in the forums and on blogs, but I have my own thoughts on this…

Mentoring success depends on many factors. MANY factors. It’s even hard to quantify it. So for starters, let’s understand some of these basic ideas…

– Are you a good candidate for mentoring? You not only NEED to ask yourself this question but you must be 100% honest with yourself when you answer it.

Let’s face it, we all like to think of ourselves as astute learners. Generally people see themselves very differently than we really are (including yours truly).

So ask yourself – Are you a good listener? Do you comprehend easily? Are you shy and won’t ask questions? Will you put yourself to the test? Are you a good problem solver?  What’s the best way for you to learn? Reading? Video? Audio? Group? One on one?

All of this is important because no matter how good or successful your chosen mentor may be, if you’re not a good student and don’t ask questions…if you don’t challenge yourself, mentoring is probably not a good way to go for you.

Unfortunatley, the mentor takes the bad wrap when people don’t “learn” what the mentor is teaching, even when it’s not their fault.

That’s not to say all mentors are good teachers either. But it’s important that you also have a good rapport with your mentor. A relationship where you are comfortable asking them questions, or challenging them when you feel it’s neccessary.

– Do you know what it is you want to learn? Do you have a plan?

What good will it do you if you hire a mentor and not know what your long term goals are? No good at all. Don’t take this lightly. If the mentor you hire is any good, these are some of the questions they will ask you.

– Are you convinced that higher priced mentors will guarantee your success?

If you do, you’re in for a rude awakening. You may indeed get much better information, and a better method of teaching…but if you are not receptive, or if you believe everything should be “push-button”, you WILL be dissapointed.

That being said, if any mentor tells you that their system is hands-free, requires no effort, etc. than you are best off running. Quickly. Because there’s no such system out there that does not reqire work to be successful.

In fact, I would argue that – assuming your mentor is a good one – the more you pay for the service, the more work you can expect to do. The more advanced tactics, systems, etc. you will learn.

If you decide that a mentor is the way to go for you, remember these basics:

– Do your due diligence. Look for information – preferrably from several students of the mentor or coach.

– Interview your potential mentor. If you plan to spend $5,000 (or even just $500) for their services, at the very least you should talk with them by phone and see if you hit it off.

– Understand what it is they are teaching and make sure it aligns with what you want to learn. Is it right for your business?

– DO NOT spend money you don’t have based on hype or high pressure! If you tell them you don’t have 5 grand and they tell you to put it on your friends credit cards…run. Fast.

– Do your due diligence. I mention this again because it’s very important. It’s your money. Be an educated consumer.

Again, this is a hot topic. Feel free to leave your comments below. I am interested in your viewpoint.

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2 Responses to "To Mentor or Not to Mentor…"

  1. I think having a mentor is very important, but I am not so sure it should cost money. For me a mentor is a person who is successful in some area of life and his willing to share how they became successful in that area. For me a coach gets paid. The coach might also know what to do but has not done it themselves, the coach can be very valueable also. I wrote a book called “Mentor The kid and the ceo” to share my experince with mentoring. I will give copies away for free while supplies last at http://www.pacebutler.com

  2. Hi Tom,

    I am using “Mentor” and “Coach” sort of interchangably here. In our niche, most people view them as pretty much the same. I am speaking specifically about paid mentoring and coaching programs in my musings…

    I agree with your definition of Mentor as well. I have had many mentors over the years – even when they didn’t KNOW they were my mentor 😉

    As for coaches – I agree that coaches may know what to do but have never done what they teach. But again, in this niche, the general view and attitude is one of “Prove that what you teach works for you…”

    Whether or not it “should” cost money is relative – the student will invariably say no. The coach – who is trying to make a living will generally say “It’s my time. Why shouldn’t I charge?”

    Thanks again for your comment. And thanks for your generous gift.
    Mike

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