What value do you put on the advice you get from your business mentor?

And how do you show respect to your business mentor?


I was very interested to read the James Caan article in the Guardian newspaper recently (http://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2013/aug/28/business-mentor-tips-james-caan) about taking notice of your business mentor.

The first thing that sprang to mind is “I wonder how he defines mentor”. So many people seem to use the term interchangeably with coach and business advisor. (See my take on the differences here http://www.thebusinessbloggingnetwork.com/2011/03/should-you-choose-a-mentor-an-advisor-or-a-consultant-to-help-you-in-your-business-or-all-3/

It always amazes me how some businesses invest a lot of time, effort and their hard earned cash in paying for help/ support/ advice and then completely ignore it. Or don’t share the knowledge throughout the organisation, so one area will be making great changes and the rest of the business fails to keep up with them. 


So who or what qualities make a good mentor for you or your business? Well for me it has to be someone who I can aspire to be like. Whether it be the person a couple of steps ahead of me on the promotion ladder or a business owner who has a successful business model I admire, someone I know has proven expertise in a field I don’t have. But for me that is the key. They have to be able to prove they’ve done something. They are the people who can stand up and say “been there, done that, wear the t-shirt with pride” so it may be that I need more than one mentor at a time. Someone who has a more mature business than I do, one who has a wealth of expertise in a particular area of my business. To me these people are my inspiration. That makes them very different from my business coach who provides the push and the drive to achieve what my mentors have already done. They have very different roles in my life and my business and I would (in most cases) feel uncomfortable receiving the other point of view from them. 

So for me choose the people you share your business with with care. And if they are offering you their time and knowledge and support, whether it be for free or you are paying for it, treat it with respect and act on it. And if you don’t act on it explain to them why you haven’t or you may find that the next nuggets of information they share aren’t quite as useful or readily given. 


Written by Philippa Bowen

Philippa is an enperienced business owner who has worked in the private , public & charitable sectors and for large & small businesses. Her passion is helping business owners to get the best from their businesses in the most efficient manner & using social media to do that. You can usually find her on twitter at @philippabowen
or you can contact her via:
07885 610228

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