Business mentoring is a relationship between an entrepreneur and someone with business experience who acts as a coach or guide. Mentoring involves a formal or informal developmental partnership where a business mentor offers advice, support and guidance to help an entrepreneur or business owner run a company.
The business mentoring relationship is a two-way relationship. It isn’t just an opportunity to pick the brain of an experienced and skilled business person. Both parties should be committed to achieve certain goals and visions.
Successful business mentoring programs match professional mentors with experienced staff to shorten the learning curve and increase competitiveness, whilst transferring knowledge and enhancing internal talent.
Within the current Fortune 500, there are about 70% of companies that have formalized their very own mentoring programs. There are also companies who have implemented some type of mentoring programs for their CEOs and senior staff. Mentor and mentee partnerships may exist across business lines and even geographical borders.
Formal and Informal Mentoring
It is likely that your mentor will stay regularly in contact with you through phone calls, emails and meetings. The nature of the mentor relationship many vary from being casual (like a monthly phone call or informal visit) to being more structured and formal (like meeting agendas and setting business objectives).
Not all mentoring has to be established formally as such. Family, friends and business contacts can become involved in unofficial mentoring activities and conversations. Business mentoring is an awesome way of getting business support and guidance on an ongoing basis. You can choose between formal and informal mentoring processes.
How Mentoring can Leverage your Business
If you have a gap between your knowledge and experience, then mentoring can work well for you. For instance, you may have a great business idea but require a little bit of guidance to transform it into a successful venture. A mentor can provide you with several benefits such as:
• Help with difficult business decisions
• Guidance on developing and improving the business
• Access to a wide network of valuable business contacts
• Ideas for products, services and new ways of working
• Business tips that can only be gained from experience
A mentor will also help you:
• Improve problem solving skills
• Develop vital business skills
• Enhance confidence
• Work on personal development
However, don’t expect a mentor to sort out all your issues and problems for you, tell you the things to do and offer business advice. They do not act as professional consultants nor take your place as leader and driver of the business.
Having a business mentor can offer you another independent view of your company or social enterprise. Engaging with a mentor can guide your business strategies and ensure that your company is meeting its objectives, addressing crucial issues and exploiting growth opportunities.
The business world has long known and relied on business mentoring as a proven strategy for enhancing in-house talents. Today, mentoring is experiencing resurgence as business leaders are slowly recognizing the advantages of transferring knowledge to people and as technology fosters a huge number of mentoring relationships.