Today, mentor or mentoring means different things, for different people. So the meaning of mentorship has changed.
When I left school at the grand age of 16, I started work as an apprentice in electrical engineering and I had an engineer who I was answerable to by the name of Jimmy Jameson who I respected and am grateful to for passing on his skills to me during my five years.
Don’t Let Your Past Hold You Back From Your Future.
Looking back on it, really he was my mentor who was willing to pass on his skills to me during my apprenticeship. So if you are serving a proper apprenticeship today does that make you a mentee and the person who is sharing his skills a mentor? Well that’s one way of looking at it. In most cases the apprentice was trained by the wise OLD man or woman, but today this is also not the case as you can have some older or even young than yourself mentoring you in technology skills if you are a CEO and technology is still new to you or online marketing.
This clearly indicates that mentoring today is not restricted by age or educational background, take me for starters, I left school with no former education and started studying after I had left school (with great regret) and now I am a mentor to some of the top FTSE 100 leaders, so age and education has no barriers in today’s world of mentoring.
If you have skills say as a sales copywriter and you are poor say finance, there is every chance you could learn from someone who has the skill in finance that you need to learn from and pass on your skills of a sales copywriter. One of the best ways to demonstrate this is, let’s say we get 10 like-minded people say business leaders all with sales of say around £100 million from 10 different none competing backgrounds in a room at the Ritz Carlton in Mayfair London once a month for 4 hours, what do you think they would or could learn from each other over 12 months or longer?
Success Breeds Success
I know what you might be thinking, if all 10 of the above business leaders are already successful why would they need to learn more skills from anyone let along other people of their own size? A very valid point and a good question which I get asked often, which needs to be explained in very simple terms. Take Tiger Woods, (on about his professional life as a golfer and not personal life) the number one world golfer, in his earlier day when he was at the top of his game, he did not stop at that and say I am the best and no one can teach me anything else about golf because I am the world’s number one, NO he did the exact opposite, he got himself coach and started pushing himself to change and optimize his golf swing even more in order to stay at the top of his game. These 10 leaders do exactly that to stay at the top of their games by learning skills from each other and sharing what’s working for them and what is not. You see successful people want to around other successful people, because they all speak the same language and understand and relate to each other as they are all going through the same stages in their own world and life.
Mentor Learning From Mentees
Don’t laugh but it is true, did you know most mentors learn from mentees as well as the mentees learning from their mentors, like I said it’s true. In all my years as mentor I can say I have always learned something or other from my mentees, take a very simple example I was mentoring one of the partners of an accountancy firm, the partner was having major problems with his pitching presentations to potential clients. As he went on to demonstrate his pitch and presentation to me in the same manner as he did for most of his potential clients, I noticed a floor hole in his pitch. The pitch was all about his firm, their qualifications, their awards and so on and on about the firm…. When it should have been about the potential client and winning him over by demonstrating what value the accountants can add to the bottom line. After explaining to the partner where in my humble opinion he was going wrong and the reason an such a low close rate. After the partner had made the suggested changes in his pitch he found his close rate went up by 30% within the first month for new accounts. I learned that two of my co-directors were doing exactly the same when they went out pitching for accounts. Sometimes we are too close to the problem to see it and all it takes is a fresh set of eyes. This is just one example where I learned from a mentee, have loads more.
From Start Ups to FTSE 100 Leaders
No matter what stage in life are with your business, a good experienced mentor will help you arrive their safer, better prepared and quicker to achieving your goals. With young entrepreneurs I personally find it much easier to get them to their destinations and goals much quicker, for no other reason than the fact they don’t have any pre-conceived ideas so they are happy to go and implement whatever processes needed to succeed. Whereas the more mature mentee has been brain washed with into believing that the way everyone in his or her industry is doing things is the only way to do things. This takes a little longer to get them out of their comfort zones and then providing them with a pair new glasses to see things are not what they appear at first, but in the end it is the results that matter and the ROI that speaks loader than words or action.
Focus & Discipline
The two major enemies of man, this is one of the main reasons mentors are good at holding you accountable. I personally have fired FTSE 100 leaders who were happy to pay me but when it came to accountability they simply were happy to roll it into next month and then the month after. As much as I like taking my money from the FTSE 100 leaders, I also take pride in my job. If someone is not taking action when they know they should and start procrastinating, that means two things to me one I have failed my client in my opinion, second I must terminate the agreement immediately, even if the client wants to carry on, I walk away. It is not always about the money for me as most of my clients know only too well. If I am not prepared to discipline myself then I would lose self-respect for myself. I can never force anyone to take action, we all have choices at the end of the day. I have seen three CEO’s leave or get fired a couple of years after me terminating my agreement with them. You can only hide for so long, sooner or later someone will find you and hold you accountable for your action or rather no actions.
What has been your experiences with mentoring? I would love to hear from you
Moe Nawaz is Strategic Advisor & Mentor to FTSE 100 Leaders