People often ask why I’m so willing to impart advice or give instruction when it’s not being paid for. Being a Consultant is part of the work I do, but being a Mentor is who I’m turning out to be.
Raj & I have created a culture where folks have access to our time. We teach each other, and everyone that wants our advice. As consultants, we do our best to steer you the right way, give you the pros and cons of each step, and create strategic partnerships for you. But for a few of our team members and friends, we can’t help but give it away. We just ask the same in return. It’s the easiest way to make sure your company is firing on all cylinders. A-Players teach & nurture B&C-Players, lifting them to excellence. They, in turn, feel inspired to grow and often learn new things to impart back to the team. Keeping all of us growing towards betterment. You see we learn 95% of what we teach others, so it’s also the sure fire way to obtain mastery.
I think we are all teachers in some way. We all find different ways to exercise that skill. I was mentored in a very “story teller” way. When I had issues in the company I worked in, the owner, who was my mentor would tell me a story. Just very random. After a few of these tales, I realized he was literally telling me what to do. I had to hear it, not just listen. I had to dissect it. He did not want it to be obvious. He wanted to make it as close to experiencing the real thing as possible.
So I’ve been mentored pretty well, and I’ve always stated I would owe my success to that Mentor. So it’s just natural that I feel indebted to pass it on. Ironically I mentor in the same way as my Mentor did… but in varying degrees. At times I have to state the obvious, or my patience runs thin. That’s no fault of my mentees, just a clear indication that I have some more learning to do as a mentor.
To mentor well, you need to dedicate time, find great folks to pass things onto, and set goals for them to attain. If they are not willing to learn, try what you teach, or execute at a high level, you could be wasting your time. Set goals for them to achieve in their specific business. If they are not willing to do so, they aren’t taking you seriously. You may also need to ask more than you answer. Allow them to obtain the answer by nudging them in the right direction, not by providing the answers.
Another main aspect to true mentorship is allowing or even encouraging failure. Allow them to make mistakes. If you’re not failing at something, you’re not trying hard enough to discover new skills or talents. Don’t let your mentees get comfortable. Push them to fail, and encourage them to persevere. Now, of course, a few things just won’t come naturally to some. It’s your job to realize that and move on to what’s next for them to learn.
But when it all comes together, and you see the progression, it’s an amazing feeling. There is this purity in seeing someone succeed without any direct benefit to yourself. It’s gratifying, and can often inspire you to continue working towards greatness.
As a mentee, you are never really done either. I’m actively on my hunt to find my next Mentor. We have so much learning to do, and so many have come before us with that knowledge and experience. As we age, there are better, faster, more efficient ways to do things. So if we take the time to listen to our mentees, we may learn a few things too.
At Collective Ventures, we’ve been fortunate to have mentors in almost every category. To that point, we’ve virtually created a teaching center. Every specialist teaches in collaborative meetings, brain storming sessions, hallway chats, coffee breaks or 1 on 1’s. We are so thankful to have put such a good group of folks together. And its relevance is being seen. Just recently, we’ve found ourselves in talks with Broward College to participate in their entrepreneurship program, mentor, and bring on interns that are ready to learn, absorb, and execute.
So go out there and find a mentor… then go pass it on!