Having a mentor can help you in your life. The experience a mentor shares with you can help you avoid mistakes, WITHOUT having to spend all the years or going through the embarrassment your mentor took to learn them.
Recently Entrepreneur Campfire co-founder and my personal friend and mentor Andrew Wong talked to social entrepreneur and brand strategist Zye Ramli about mentorship. Andrew has extensive experience with mentoring founders of companies he’s incubated. He’s been in the business of incubating businesses since 2005 and has mentored over 400 entrepreneurs.
> How having a mentor can help you with your business?
> Should you have more than one mentor? How do you ‘manage’ your mentors?
> Everyone can learn from one another: The two-way relationship between the mentor and mentee.
> Role of a mentor: what areas will your mentor guide you in?
> The one type of attitude that turns off mentors.
> How mentors answer the question: do I want to mentor you?
PLUS much more.
More about this interview
Everybody is talking about getting a mentor. But what does a mentor really do? How does having a mentor benefit you and what kind of attitude should you have to get a person you admire to mentor you?
Mentors Support You In Areas You are Weak
According to Andrew, a mentor is someone who helps you in areas where you are weak. “The reason you have mentors is because you have either people who have understood on the basics of the business or they are industry expert who need help on a specific subject matter,” says Andrew, “I won’t say a mentor is somebody who knows everything. There could be a specific subject matter that he is very well-versed of and the entrepreneur needs the help for what.”
Having more than one mentor to advise you in different subjects areas is beneficial. For instance, you could have a mentor who advises you on marketing and another one advising you on sales. However, having more than one mentor advising you in the same subject area isn’t recommended. “Too many (cooks) spoil the broth,” says Andrew. He asks, if different mentors give you different advice on the same problem, “who are you going to follow?”
Mentors Connect You to People Who Can Help You
“Besides just giving advice, (the mentor) is also the person to pinpoint who they should talk to and do the introduction and connectivity,” says Andrew. Your mentor is likely to know people who can help you with your business either by giving you advice, funding or any other kind of support. And if you’re the right person, they will be willing to help introduce you to them.
The Attitude That Turns Mentors Off
Like any other relationship, the mentor-mentee relationship is built on a foundation of trust and respect. “If they (the mentees) don’t stick or follow what you say, that means they don’t respect you as an advisor; they are just fishing for advice. That’s not the kind of people you want. So even as a mentor, one has to be discerning about who they want as a mentor,” says Andrew.
This is to say, not respecting the advice that your mentor gives you will likely cut short your relationship with them and with that, remove all the privileges and benefits that come from having a mentor.
The ideal mentee is, Andrew explains, someone who “show(s) enthusiasm (when) seeking your help, listen(s) to you intensively and do(es) what you advice them to do.”
Seeing what a huge time commitment it is to mentor someone, mentors can and will leave mentor-mentee relationships from that do not hold up to the expected level of trust and respect. For Andrew, “if this is not really a good mentee I want to have, I would just walk away.”
Listen to the whole interview
In the 10 minute interview you’ll find out more about what a mentor is thinking about when they are mentoring you and the kind of attitude you should have to reap the benefits of what your mentor has to offer.