Even the greatest entrepreneurs with award-winning ideas have benefited from the use of a successful mentor. In fact, the founder of Virgin Group – Richard Branson – says,
And Branson himself credits a family friend and successful accountant who served as a vital part of the beginning of his successful journey, with helping him to reach his potential.
Throughout the history of business and industry, it is common to see the most successful people admit they learned from someone else and/or that they prefer to hire people who are smarter than they are.
But how do you go about finding a mentor that will suit you? It’s not as difficult as you may think. It requires determination, vision, authenticity, and a bit of humility but with the right tools, you can reach out to someone that you truly admire and learn from them, things that can help you prepare for the sometimes tumultuous road of being entrepreneurial.
We wanted to know more on whether Irish professionals use mentors and here are the results.
Do you have a mentor: The Results
Do you have a mentor?
Our findings showed 71% of Irish professionals who participated in our survey admitted to having a mentor. Of the participants, 57% worked in Mid level management positions and 29% are at Executive / Director level.
How many mentors do you have and where did you source them?
Our findings showed that of those who work with mentors, 62% of Irish professionals admitted to having two mentors with the remaining 38% having one. The primary methods of sourcing mentors for these respondents has been through their current and previous employers with 62% of respondents stating that they were partnered with them through a coaching mentoring partnership and 26% utilising previous managers and employers as their mentors.
How often do you meet your mentor?
Our findings showed that there was an even split as to how often professionals meet with their mentors whether it be monthly, semi-annually or annually. When we looked at the seniority of the professionals however, we found that Executive / Director level professionals were more likely to meet with their mentor on a semi-annual or yearly basis, with more junior or mid management professionals admitting meeting with their mentors more regularly on a month by month basis.
What has been the single best learning you have received from your mentor to date?
We have included some of the quptes from our survey resondents below:
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Focus on building strengths and interests in your career. Think “breadth and depth.” [/pullquote]
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Listen and show humility when faced with adversity [/pullquote]
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Foucs[/pullquote]
So, how do you go about finding a mentor that will suit you?
Investigate Organised Mentorship Programmes
There are many organised mentorship partnering programs in Ireland for professionals looking to source a suitable mentor including the following:
- Irish Executive Mentorship Programme (IEMP)
- The Coaching and Mentoring Network
- 30% Club Mentoring
- The Coaching and Mentoring Partnership (TCMP)
- Company specific mentorship programme
Be Honest About Your Shortcomings
You may have the greatest idea or vision in the world since sliced bread but nobody has every tool there is in their toolbox to make a successful organization. That’s why it’s important to evaluate your own flaws, own them, and be prepared to listen to constructive criticism. This is the only way you can overcome these characteristics and someone who’s been-there-done-that is the perfect person to point out ways to strengthen these weaknesses. Have a personal, honest self-evaluation and determine the things you may most struggle with before seeking out a mentor.
Find Someone You Truly Admire
And not only someone you admire, but someone whose issues are a bit of the opposite of yours. For example, it may be wiser to choose to reach out to someone whose strengths lie in operations, if your strengths lie in, say, manufacturing. This helps you balance one another out because a mentor/mentee relationship cannot be one-way. It is a give-and-take relationship and you will feel more comfortable when you’re giving helpful advice/information to your mentor, who is giving you equally helpful advice/information. Don’t underestimate the things you have to offer. You are, after all, an expert in your own ways.
Study Your Targeted Mentor(s)
This is no small task. It’s not just a matter of looking up their Facebook account or scanning their corporate website. Try to find news articles, “about” articles, history, family, lifestyle, passions, etc. The more you know about your mentor, the easier it will be to approach them because you have a genuine interest in and appreciation for their life and success.
Expect to Give As Well as Receive
As mentioned, gurus, leaders, prophets, and celebrities receive countless praises, questions, inquiries, and letters of admiration so it’s important to approach your targeted mentor with something you can give them. Once you’ve studied them, you can do something like offer thanks for some tidbit of advice or article they authored. If they’ve said or done something that helped you, contact them and let them know how you followed their example or took their advice and how grateful you are because it worked. Additionally, you can provide your would-be mentor with information they may be seeking such as a common ground you both share. Maybe you read somewhere they were struggling with X and you happen to know of a resource that could be helpful to them.
Don’t expect them to contact you again until you have taken the initiative to prove your dedication to learning. Everyone likes to help and many mentors have said they appreciate the opportunity to give to someone who is willing to learn from them. So show your determination to your mentor by sharing the results of suggestions they’ve made to you. Once you have a line of communication established, the rest is about honesty, integrity, appreciation, and consistency.
Bill Gates said,
“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”
After you’ve found and utilized your mentor to become a success, you, too, may well become a mentor for the next generation of entrepreneurs.