What is the meaning of a mentor? Theoretically, a mentor is an experienced and trusted person who advises or trains someone. But, more practically, a mentor is someone you rely on to give you advice and guidance, especially in your career.
When choosing a mentor, there are some qualities you should pay more attention to.
The top three qualities to look for in a mentor
- someone who likes to contribute and pass on the knowledge they have acquired over the years without expecting anything in return
- has a passion for what they do
- is excited and ready for every meeting she has with her mentees
3. A GOOD COMMUNICATOR
- communicates quickly with others
- has relaxed and fun ways of conducting a relationship
Even though all three are very important, the relationship with the mentor has to be the top priority. Lack of interest and involvement of the mentee (the person being advised, trained, or counseled by the mentor) can create tension and disinterest between him and the mentor, especially if the mentor is paid and cares about his paycheck.
The mentor you choose must have an effective communication style.
“I met a mentor once, and we had a one-hour meeting, no longer, no shorter. He was talking fast and far away from the microphone, so I didn’t understand anything; he didn’t leave any buffer so you could get in somehow. There was wasted time on both sides, but especially on mine, as I was more interested in my time and not his. The second time I didn’t attend the future meetings that were supposed to take place. So if a mentor is money hungry and doesn’t put much effort into the mentorship, it is best to find one that will.”Bogdan Predusca, Founder at Hyperhuman
Do you want to waste your time on useless chatter with an uninterested mentor? Absolutely not.
As both of you are evolving in your career, the relationship dynamic changes. As each goes through more stages of being a mentor and mentee, it gets better and better for both of you.
Now, money also plays a big part in relationships. Why? Because no matter how much money you have lost or made, the relationship changes in a good way now that your knowledge and view change. You know how to raise the problem; otherwise, you know how to move faster and what to look out for.
The importance of a mentor in a founder’s life
Did you know that most start-ups have failed because the founder had no guidance? Mentors have not only gone through the trials you are going through and attempt to solve similar issues, but can also empathize with you in unique ways.
Mentors have the vital job of keeping the founders focused on their objectives by following advancement and accomplishments. A mentor will make you challenge your thoughts and ideas and will help you to see things from a different perspective.
They can become an invaluable source of tactics, strategy building, and the most honest reflection of yourself. That implies more leads, associations, and roads for direction and financing.
Good practices – take the initiative
Now that you have a mentor, it might be easy to fall into the trap of laziness. Don’t be the reason you fail because of your lack of seriousness and commitment. Even with a mentor, you have to take the initiative. It would be best if you didn’t have to be pulled by him to do anything. For your start-up to do well, you must prepare, ask questions, and maximize your time with him.
There are six steps you can take to develop your initiative.
1. Develop a career plan
2. Build self-confidence
3. Spot opportunities and potential improvements
4. Sense-check your ideas
5. Develop persistence
6. Find balance
Doing these steps alone and then discussing them with your mentor will be a big push forward.
The best mentors don’t actually provide any answers; they ask the right questions. A mentor who wants to help you will tell you whether or not your start-up idea will or will not work in the current market. He will then give you feedback, but you take the decisions.
If your idea might not work, but you still want to try it, he will let you try because, at some point, if you spend enough time in the industry you might come up with something that might work. If you fail, you examine where things went wrong, and you will be able to identify the issues that need to be resolved to face future challenges.
Your journey as a founder is unique. Getting mentorship will drastically improve it. Mentors are an essential part of your start-up team. You will achieve goals faster, brighter, and safer.
However, the wrong mentor will ruin your start-up. Instead, look for the qualities he displays.
Mentoring is mainly about helping someone else develop their skills and abilities. The wrong mentor is a mentor that is more focused on his superiority to a mentee than on helping him.
Should we put all of our trust in him?
No, we are supposed to be our mentors as well. Balance is critical here.
The right mentor is the secret weapon for any founder if leveraged correctly. Finding the right one might just make the difference between our failure or success.