If I had a dollar for every time someone told me about a bad experience they’d had with a business mentor, I’d be too busy swimming in a room filled with gold coins to write this blog post.
Let’s get something straight. I’m a BIG fan of business mentoring. Get the right coach and it can skyrocket your confidence, clarify your offering, make you a truck-load more money, and put you on the fast track for world domination.
I’ve both been a mentor, and been mentored for the best past of the last decade, and hugely enjoyed both experiences. Throughout the journey, I’ve learnt a thing or two about the importance of choosing THE RIGHT business mentor. Given the small fortune of time, money and energy that you’ll invest into the relationship, this blog is probably worth a read (twice over).
Straight up, there’s one thing you need to understand…
For the most part, mentoring is an unregulated industry. This means that every Tom, Dick, and half-brother Harry can call themselves a business mentor and make a quick buck. So you need the razor sharp eye of a hawk to sniff the good from the bad, and the ugly.
So if it’s an all-powerful relationship, where do you find these magical unicorns, and how do you know the right one for you.
How to Choose the Right Business Mentor for You
1. Be Clear on HOW you want them to help you
Any successful adventure begins with a destination in mind. Be it sailing in the Bahamas, carving powder in Japan, or building your business empire, you need at least have a ballpark vision on where you’re going. This is going to be crucial in choosing the right business mentor for you. So before you go anywhere near that google search bar, ask yourself where you want both you and your business to be in five years. And then, read on….
2. Ask ‘have they done it before’?
If your car broke down would you trust a mechanic who’d never fixed your type of car before to wield a spanner on your latest ride? I don’t think so. The same principle applies to your business. Personally, I’m a big fan of working with mentors who have actually done themselves what you’re trying to do.
Examples. When I was a junior coach looking to build my coaching practice, I worked with a coach who had built a coaching practice of 15 coaches, before selling it for a small fortune. Once I had these skills under my belt I wanted to leverage myself online. So my next mentor has done exactly that and grown an international following in her niche. You get my drift. In an ideal world you want someone who has been there and done it before you.
BUT, and this is a big but….
A mentor that has worked with businesses in your industry can also be a really solid choice. Although they may not have had their own neck on the line, they have certainly been in the trenches with their mentoree’s before, so they’ve likely got a good inkling to what’s around your next blind corner.
The key take-away here, is look for experience that is directly applicable to you.
3. What the hell is the skill level and experience of this business coach?
While they don’t need an MBA on the wall, you definitely want to know the types of businesses that they’ve worked with before AND the results they’ve helped them achieve. If you’re right at the start line of launching your own gig a more generalist mentor that provide as much accountability and personal support as business advice might be a good fit for you. However, if you’re a seasoned business owner and know a specific niche or vertical you want to taget, look for a business coach that has the experience and skill level to match your expectations.
Importantly, no matter where you are on the journey, make sure that your business coach is more skilled and experienced than you. I know this sounds like I’m stating the VERY obvious – but just check, and thank me later.
4. Check the vibe
No I’m not talking about getting your crystals out here, nor cleansing your chakras. What I’m talking about here is the vibe you get form your soon-to-be mentor. Trust, warmth and connection all fall into the ‘yes please may I have some more’ category. BUT if anything in your gut is saying ‘run faster than Usain Bolt outta here’, you need to listen to that warning and fasten your runners. Just in all business decisions, your gut is a firm and trustworthy moral compass that should be listened to at all times. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve ignored my intuition, and each and every time is has undeniably blown up in my face. Lesson learnt.
5. What is their availability and accessibility?
This component requires a bit of good ‘ol self awareness. Are you a ‘give me the plan and get this sh*t done faster than you can say monthly retainer’. Alternatively, are you more inclined to come armed with a million questions and love a good yarn when you hit the smallest of speed humps. Neither is right or wrong, but it will influence the type of coach that’s right for you. As a mentor, I have typically allowed clients phone and access to me during business hours. BUT this is because I carefully screen my potential clients, and have developed a knack for only taking on self-motivated action takers, who only feel the need to call in actual emergencies, or to cross-check major emergencies.
If you’re earlier in your business journey, you will likely need more hand-holding. So look for a mentor that offers weekly sessions, and access in between. There are plenty of coaches out there, that enjoy this close relationship, that will work best for your needs.
Seek the level of support that is right for you.
6. Do people say nice things about them?
Yep. Do they? What’s the word on the street about your mentor-to-be? Testimonials and reviews will give you an instant insight into the way your potential coach holds themselves, and the quality of their relationships and work.
Where do you find a good Business Mentor?
First step: ask around. Ask people you admire in business who their mentors are and seek advice from family and friends, or colleagues you respect. You’ll likely find some gold right here.
Next up you can ask in forums where business owners hang out. Business-specific Facebook Groups are a great opportunity here, and also allow for you to see social proof of the suggestions people put forward.
Google (the answer to everything), will also fire up some suggestions at you. BUT, just because they’re ranked Numero Uno on Google, doesn’t mean they the best. Big bucks can get anyone those rankings, so be warned. I’d suggest being VERY cautious of business mentors that you haven’t received through recommendation or that fail to have significant social proof around them.
Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty of hiring a Business Mentor
1. How much should they cost?
This is going to largely depend on how experienced the mentor is. The more experienced, the more expensive. No brainer.
To give you an idea, when I started Business Coaching I charged about $1000 for six sessions. Over time I shifted my model to have clients on retainer (commitment always gets better results), and my rate increased to $850 a month. In the years following (and as my experience and value as a coach increased) this ended up at $1500 per month for fortnightly sessions of 2 hours, and finally $3000 for a three hour session.
In the mentoring world you’ll usually get what you pay for, so if you want a business mentor with epic skills and a ton of experience be prepared to pay the dollars.
2. Should I get a single session or ongoing business mentoring?
In a one-off session you’ll absolutely get a bunch of clarity and breakthroughs, they’re worth their weight in gold. You’ll leave there feeling higher than Joe Rogan, and bulletproof in achieving world domination within the next 7 minutes. BUT, unfortunately like every good high, it’ll come to an end, and unless you have the accountability and support to action all those big changes, there’s a HUGE chance that you just won’t do it.
3. How long should I work with the same business mentor?
Short answer – so long as you are still getting value from your sessions. You ARE NOT paying for an expensive friend. You are there to grow your business, and while your coach is still challenging, educating and supporting you there is good reason to stay. When you find that you’re meeting up just to shoot everyday sh*t, it’s time to move on.
On this note, a really great business coach continues to learn, evolve and invest in themselves on an ongoing basis. If you’ve landed one of these coaches your relationship may last years, as they stay ahead of your game and continue to bring fresh value to the table.
Your business mentor should always be clear on your goals for being there. These can change over time, as will your relationship with them. To give you a real-time example, I’ve been working with one of my long-term clients, an Interior Designer, for about four years. When we initially met she ran a small team, and the goal was very much about growing her client base and revenue.
We achieved this, and along with it came a growing team, which any owner will tell you comes with it’s own unique set of challenges. She also fell pregnant, and my role shifted from kicking her ass weekly, to setting up the right team, putting systems in place for her to exit the business, and then supporting the team in her absence.
On her return from maternity leave our relationship evolved again, as she’d grown into a very competent business owner, and our relationship shifted more to mentoring half-time, while continuing to support and mentor the team the other half. I continue to work with her and the team, and cherish my relationship with everyone involved and the growth of the business in ways I could never imagined.
So if you continue to get value, you may stay with a business mentor for years. You may also have numerous mentors at once, and this is not unusual for larger businesses, with different departments with different needs OR growth strategies into different verticals.
4. Group or one-on-one business mentoring?
I’ll be honest here. When I first started coaching I would always have chosen one-to-one coaching over group coaching. However, fast forward to today and I get absolutely giddy on my High-End Hustlers program. This 5-month deep dive is essentially group coaching that combines weekly group coaching sessions, with epic community, live Implementation Days, and laser business mentoring. The reason it’s epic (and it works) is that you need more than just knowledge to grow a business. Community, learning, education, mentoring, and immersion are all absolutely critical in your quest for world domination.
Additionally, when you’re in a group situation the other members on the call will pose questions that you haven’t even thought to ask. You’ll get an answer to these in a real situation, which means your learning is fast-tracked, and you’re as ready as you’ll ever be when the situation arises.
5. Will there be a time I don’t need a business mentor?
I could give you the textbook answer here to say ‘no’ unless you’re green and growing, your rip and rotting. You should always continue to be evolving, challenging and bettering yourself.
However, what I’ve personally experienced is that sometimes I need this from an external source such as a coach, and sometimes I need to cultivate it internally for myself. So listen to your own intuition on this. Business mentoring in invaluable for bridging knowledge gaps, and keeping you focused and motivated. But allow yourself some off-season’s to implement, reflect, and evoke your inner wisdom on growing your empire.
6. Will getting a business mentor grow your business?
Say what?! The what on earth have I been banging on about this whole blog???
Hear me out… Getting a Business Mentor is a great step in growing your business, but here’s the kicker – YOU HAVE TO DO THE WORK.
Yep. Just like Usain Bolt’s coach doesn’t run the 100m as the fastest man alive. You too will have to run the actual race. A coach is there to advise, encourage, direct you to your ultimate goal, but it’s ultimately up to you to get there.
Getting THE RIGHT Business Mentor will be an absolutely invaluable confidante in growing your empire. They bring skills and experience to the table that will save you a ton of time, money, and sanity in figuring it all out yourself. If you’re prepared to do the work, they’ll take you where you want to go. So take the time to hire THE RIGHT business mentor for you and your dreams, and then hold on for one hellava ride!
Check out my High-End Hustlers Business Mentoring program here
It’s community, education, and mentoring like no other.