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Once you have decided that you would like the support of a business mentor, how do you find one and how do you decide which one is right for you?
We have put together some questions and tips to help you in finding a business mentor and in deciding which one is right for you. These may also be useful if you are looking for a business coach:
What support do you want? Before looking for a business mentor it is a good idea to understand what support you need and in what areas, whether this be general business mentoring for all areas of your business, specific support (e.g. sales and marketing, growing your business etc.), personal support (e.g. stress management, work/life balance etc.) or maybe a mixture of these. If you are not sure what support you want, it will be helpful if you can describe how you feel (e.g. overwhelmed, not strategic enough etc.).
Do you want face to face, telephone or internet support? You can have business mentoring face to face, over the phone, via Skype, via email and even online, so think about your preferred option so that you can find a mentor who can meet your requirements.
Ask your contacts for recommendations. A good starting point for finding a business mentor will be to ask your contacts (business and/or personal) if they can recommend one. They may have used a mentor or know of someone they are happy to recommend to you.
Search on the internet. Try searching on Google and have a look on internet based business directories. Make sure your search is specific and includes your requirements.
Look at the websites of the business mentors. Find out more about the mentors recommended to you and about those you found on the internet by looking at their websites. This will enable you to narrow down your search as you will be able to get a feel as to whether they are right for you from their websites.
Contact a selection of business mentors. Telephone or email the mentors who look right for you and arrange to speak to them to find out more about them and whether they can meet your requirements.
The questions below will help you narrow down your search.
Can you relate to and see yourself working with the business mentor? The key to getting the most from the business mentoring is the relationship between you and your business mentor. Spend time talking to them to see whether you get on with them, want to work with them and whether they are right for you.
What business mentoring qualifications, knowledge and experience do they have? Ask them about the business mentoring training they have completed and about their knowledge and experience of business mentoring.
What business knowledge and experience do they have? Ask about their business knowledge and experience, their career to date, who they have worked for, at what level and in what positions. If you want general business support you will want someone with general management experience or who has run their own business rather than a specialist.
How long have they been working as a business mentor? Understand from them how long they have been working as a business mentor and make sure you feel comfortable with this.
What type of clients do they work with and what do they help them with? Ask about the type of clients they have worked with (e.g. the size of the businesses, the business sectors they operate in, the number of staff they employ etc.) and the type of things they have helped them with.
Do they have client testimonials and can you speak to their existing/previous clients? It may help you to decide on a business mentor if you can see some of their client testimonials or talk to their clients.
How do they work with their clients? Ask about how they work with clients and how they will work with you (e.g. how long are the mentoring sessions, how often do they take place, what is your commitment in terms of number of sessions, what is the cost, do they offer a free session so that you can try out their services, do they have a contract that covers their services etc.).
Do you feel that they are right for you and your business? From the above you should be able to decide which mentor is right for you and your business. However, you may want to ask to try them out first with a mentoring session so you can make sure.
Hopefully the above will help you with your search and selection if you decide that you want to work with a business mentor.
Author: Liz Makin
Published: May 2010
Makin It Happen has a range of personal development online courses to purchase, created by Liz Makin, including communication, resilience, time management, stress management and coaching. Liz Makin also provides personalised business coaching, business mentoring and stress management services to business owners, directors, managers and professionals.
Please call Liz on 01780 765270 or email Liz@makinithappen.co.uk
to arrange a FREE consultation session
to discuss our business coaching, business mentoring and stress management services for business owners, directors, managers and professionals.