June 7, 2024


How to Choose the Right Mentor For Your Business

Created by Ali Coşkunfrom the Noun Project

Why do teams need coaches? And why does your choice of a coach or mentor matter? Why is it important to surround yourself with people who are going to elevate your existence?

How to Choose the Right Mentor For Your Business

If you don’t know this about me, my son Noah has been playing football since he was in third grade. He’s played on eight different teams in four states, and has had so many coaches I can’t even remember them all.

But, I do remember two of them, quite vividly. And for entirely different reasons.

Let me explain.

How to Choose the Right Mentor For Your Business

The first coach spent the entire season telling him what he was doing wrong. Called him out when he messed up (in front of his teammates, crowds, etc.), and made him feel like absolute trash. This coach didn’t discourage others from speaking badly about other people or misbehaving on and off the field. He cared about winning, no matter the cost.

The second coach? He’s spent the entire season praising what Noah’s been doing right. Instead of calling him out in front of everyone when players makes mistakes, he points out who is doing things correctly and encourages them to show others the right way to do things. Coach definitely doesn’t let mistakes go unnoticed, but instead of ridiculing a player, he will pull them aside and explain what to do next time, or what to look for, or some way to improve.

He requires good grades in school, timeliness and respect for each other, and does not raise his voice in anger nor does he allow the other coaches to scream at the kids from the sidelines. He hugs the kids, he firmly shakes their hand, and he expects nothing but excellence on and off the field. Not only that, he is leading the other coaches to be more proactive about positivity and not screaming at players, and actually coaching players.

Guess which coach has created an environment for success?

Can you tell which coach has kids actually wanting to be at practice, who has kids busting their butts to get good grades for potential scholarship opportunities, who has other teams wondering how the heck his players are doing so well? And can you guess which coach made Noah and so many others want to quit? Who had failing grades and terrible attitudes? Who had my beautiful and wonderful and loving son feeling and thinking terribly about not only his skills as an athlete, but as a person.

The truth is: who you surround yourself with matters.

You’ve probably heard that the 5 people you spend the most time with are who you’ll be most like.

And that is absolutely true about who you surround yourself with, whether it’s as a mentor, someone on Instagram or who you work with. It’s not enough to do anything you can to be successful and make money, being cutthroat is not necessary,  and “winning” is not all that matters.

So, what should you look for in hiring someone who can elevate you and your business?

There are a few qualities, characteristics and metrics to look for when hiring a business mentor. Here are 5 things to consider in a business mentor:

Someone who will be honest with you.

There is a huge difference between being honest and being rude, make no mistake. But someone who is only going to tell you that you’re amazing and fluffing your ego is not going to serve you well. Sure, it’ll feel good in the moment but in the long run? You’re hiring someone who will help you grow as a business owner or to help you develop your business-specific skillset.

Someone who will not make you feel like crap for making mistakes.

Everyone makes mistakes. After all, to err is human. I firmly believe that acknowledging  mistakes is important, because learning from mistakes is an effective way to grow.

Someone who has proven expertise in your field.

The metrics for proven expertise is going to vary based on what you want to improve on in your business. For example:

If you’re looking for someone who can help you with social media and content creation, you’ll need to look for someone who has the organic numbers and engagement to back up what they’re going to teach you.

Want to learn how to blog? Your potential mentor should have steady blog and website traffic.

If you’re looking for someone to teach you about Google ads, you’ll need to look for someone who has shown success with other businesses with their Google ads.

Or perhaps, you’re looking for someone who can mentor your specific skill (i.e. off-camera flash photography for photographers, airbrushing for makeup artists, flower preservation for florists, etc.). This person should have a portfolio to backup what they want to teach you about!

Check for others’ experiences.

This is going to be the most important thing to consider when hiring a business mentor. Reviews from past students, success stories, and corresponding results is going to be very useful in deciding whether the juice is worth the squeeze. It’s not enough to take the mentor’s word for it, either! Do some digging and see how they have improved their students’ businesses or skillsets. Did they follow through? Have their students found success, developed their talent, grown as a business? And most importantly – has their client demand and income improved?

© ashley durham photography