When I launched TalentC® in the fall of 2009 I was blessed with having business mentors from different industries. Some had experience in building and launching their dream while others had specific experience. Finance, HR and leadership skills were what they could bring to the table. They knew what mentoring was to some extent but not as something that an organization would offer as its core service. It was a great story to be told as I was able to learn from them and they, in turn, could learn more about mentoring from me.
Also read: Mentoring And Global Trends In The Workplace
Fast forward to today and we see the growth of mentoring with entrepreneurs and start-ups. In some of the research, I have found that it was beneficial for the mentor to come from the same industry as the entrepreneur that they are working with. I challenge that statement as I have found that experience in the same industry is a nice to have but definitely not a need to have.
I use my lack of industry experience as a means to learn more about the person I am mentoring, their product/service, and the market that they are targeting through asking a lot of questions. Those questions can and do stimulate critical thinking on the part of the entrepreneur. I may have a story to tell that is not an industry-specific story but there would be some relevance that would spark further dialogue. I have been blessed with having access to industry-specific colleagues that I can plug into our relationship to provide further guidance to my entrepreneur.
Something that is often overlooked when we are mentoring and it applies to mentoring entrepreneurs as well as the personal growth of the entrepreneur. I am working with a number of entrepreneurs right now and we are doing a health check before we move on with their business mentoring. If you are not healthy from within then it will be very difficult for us to market what you are offering as a service/product to your target audience. If you have self-doubt, self-esteem, and self-confidence challenges then we need to spend time addressing those. If I have committed to working with you, I want to make sure that you are committed to yourself and your personal growth as a priority. You are going on a journey that will have curves in the road, bumpy terrain and slippery conditions and you need to believe in your ability to navigate through all of that. I will be standing by your side as your guide and will ask you the right questions to help you navigate through all of this.
At the end of the day, I want you to be successful in whatever endeavor you have chosen. I want you to be whole as a person. Think of it as being successful on a personal and professional level. At the end of the day you need to have a mentor or mentors, you need to believe in yourself, and you must commit to the mentoring relationship and the journey that lies ahead. “Can you afford not to?”
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