No business owner can claim to know it all. When your business is growing, enquiries are pouring in and clients are asking for more and more work, it’s easy to forget that running a business is as much a personal venture as it is professional.
With a business mentor at your side, you can be sure that you’re not missing out on crucial knowledge that could push your business forward. In this article, we’re going to cover what a business coach does, why you need a coach and how you can find one.
When you’re running your own business, it’s easy to let a lot of your own personal development slip by, which is why so many businesses turn to business mentors to help complement their existing development.
A coach can be anyone from a personal contact to a trained and certified business coach. As long as you feel they have useful expertise to learn from and they are willing to tutor you, anyone can be your business mentor.
Whether you’re looking for guidance, advice, expertise or a better network of contacts, a business mentor could be an invaluable addition to both your own personal development and potentially even that of your business.
Business coaches can make a significant impact on your organisation. Even just having the secondary opinion of another individual can help you see things in a totally different way.
Specifically, coaches will be able to provide you with a new outlook on many challenges and issues you are facing.
Whether it’s adopting a new way of working, enacting different business processes or simply looking for reviews of your own development and training, the right mentor can make a big difference to a business.
If all goes well, you can learn new business insights and put in place useful guidance. So, where some businesses would have to continue learning through their own experiences, your organisation can benefit from what others have already discovered.
Experience is one of the most important assets any business can have, and business mentors have this in abundance.
Your business is only as strong as your own skills and experience, and when it comes to growing your business, what you and your employees know can make a huge difference.
And it’s for that reason that so many new start-ups have been turning to mentors in recent years. At the heart of lots of fast-growing and ambitious enterprises, the effect that a good mentor can have is impressive.
61% of business owners report that coaching has increased their job satisfaction, while over half of owners and executives say that coaching has improved productivity. Instead of simply working hard, a coach can help your organisation work smarter as well.
There are a few different ways to find a business mentor who suits your needs.
Before you start looking for a mentor though, you will need to decide what you need them for. Are you looking for a mentor to improve your networking? Or are you looking for somebody to give you guidance on how to improve your own industry-specific skillset?
There are lots of different business tutors, but not all of them will be the right option for your needs.
To that end, you should be ready to look for business tutors in different places. If you can’t find a suitable business tutor within your current workplace, you should be prepared to reach out to different organisations.
You could try business associations and chambers of commerce, online groups, pages and forums, non-profit organisations and charities, or potentially a nearby university or college. You could even reach out to local business leaders for their guidance.
It isn’t always easy to find a business mentor though, so if you’re still having trouble, you could attend industry events, clubs and meet-ups.
Depending on the specifics of your relationship and what you and your mentor have agreed to do, you will likely need to have at least one initial meeting.
As early as possible, agree on a tone, approach and avenue for feedback. And if you’ve agreed to have several regular meetings, make sure you’re respectful of your mentor’s time. Your mentor will almost certainly be a busy individual, and though they will be more than happy to help you, they will also have other commitments.
Outline and agree what topics you would like to discuss with your mentor. If possible, avoid going over what you have talked about in previous meetings and have a set of focused questions and queries about the topics you want to discuss.
It’s important to have a good and constructive relationship with your mentor. Respecting their time, while being keen to pursue your own set of questions is a good way to maximise this beneficial relationship.
Unfortunately, not every relationship goes according to plan. No matter how well intentioned both parties are, you could still both experience a breakdown in your relationship. Though rare, it’s important to pay attention to some of the following things, which could indicate that you need to rethink your approach:
You or your mentor can’t regularly keep to agreed meeting times
Your meetings aren’t as constructive as you hoped
Your mentor works in too different a field
You aren’t able to communicate constructively
Not every mentor will be the right option for you. If you’re finding that your current coach isn’t benefitting you, you should feel confident in stepping away and resuming your search. Running a business isn’t easy and it’s important to be able to set aside certain relationships that aren’t constructive to your development or future growth.
Striking the right balance between personal development and business growth can be a challenge.
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