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Ron Copple, RHU, LUTCF
Health & Life Insurance Broker
Auburn, Washington
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7 Keys to Mentoring Success

Have you ever wondered who you can talk to that can help you succeed further in your business? A mentor may be the key to improving your communication and business success.
Written Aug 07, 2008, read 2682 times since then.
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7 keys to Mentoring Success

While it's clear that developing a relationship with a mentor is essential to the success of any enterprising business owner, there are many factors involved in maintaining and benefiting from such a partnership.

  • Identify a potential mentor. This person can be any age, but the most effective mentor is someone approximately five years ahead of you in your career. A person at this level will know how to navigate your business at the spot you're in, and the person will remember what it is like to be where you are. This person should be someone you admire and someone who has good communications skills.
  • Have good questions. Would be mentors are most receptive to people who ask good questions. What makes a good question? It should reveal that you are both directed and driven. But the question should also demonstrated that you understand the mentor's expertise and you can use it well. So, a question like, "What should I do with my life?" would be out.
  • Don't expect miracles. A mentor is not going to rescue your whole career, even if they can. People want to mentor a rising star, so look like you're on track when you ask for help.
  • Be a good listener. This person is not your therapist. You ask questions, and then listen. If the mentor needs to know more, they'll ask. Do not tell your life story. It is not interesting. If it were, you'd be writing a book or doing standup, right? If you find yourself talking more than the mentor, then get a therapist before you scare your mentor away.
  • Prove you're serious. You can demonstrate that you're hungry for counsel by implementing the advice your mentor gave, showing the result, and then going back for more. So, if your mentor suggests you get on project x, get yourself there, do a good job, and report back to your mentor that you are grateful for the advice because you were able to learn a lot and shine. Your mentor will be much more willing to give you their time and energy after you've proven yourself to be a quick and eager study.
  • Always be on the lookout. One is not enough. Each person needs a few mentors, because no mentor lasts forever, and each has a different expertise.

Regardless of what your business is or how long you have been at your profession, we all need someone to bounce ideas off of, seek direction from and listen to for help in being successful. Many networking groups give you the opportunity to find someone who may work well for you as a mentor. They do not need to be in the same profession you are, but be someone who can provide you the leadership skills we all need.

In a networking event, you have the opportunity to socialize with an individual or individuals to see who may be able to meld to your personality and be able to work well together. A good mentor will be able to communicate with you candidly and allow for constructive criticism. 7 keys to Mentoring Success

While it's clear that developing a relationship with a mentor is essential to the success of any enterprising business owner, there are many factors involved in maintaining and benefiting from such a partnership.

Learn more about the author, Ron Copple, RHU, LUTCF.

Comment on this article

  • Blogging Coach and Copywriter 
Seattle, Washington 
Judy Dunn
    Posted by Judy Dunn, Seattle, Washington | Aug 12, 2008

    Ron,

    Well done. This article was written with the immense wisdom and experience you have, tempered with wit and humor.

    Specifically, I took away important truths from:

    • your 5-years-ahead-of-you rule for selecting a mentor

    • the fact that specific questions are so important (as opposed to, "How can I be successful?")

    • your advice that your mentor doesn't have to be in the same industry as you, because some truths are universal

    Thanks for sharing so generously.