An excellent mentor-mentee relationship can mean the difference between success and failure. Connecting with someone who has lived through similar professional experiences and can provide encouragement and emotional support will be hugely beneficial for first-time entrepreneurs.
But how and where can you find an exceptional mentor? Check out these six characteristics of superb mentors and keep your eyes open because you could meet your ideal mentor anywhere:
1. Experience in your industry
Someone with experience in the industry you are entering can bring a great deal of relevant experience to the table. Having walked the path you want to travel, mentors will help you make fewer mistakes and warn you before you make bigger ones.
Also, networking is indispensable for entrepreneurs. However, it is not always easy. Involved mentors may be able to introduce you to valuable connections. Being able to count on someone who can accelerate the networking process will put you ahead of the game.
2. Listening and understanding
A good mentor will be a good listener. Only by listening will a mentor be able to understand your pain points and give you the best possible advice.
Ideally, your mentor won’t be telling you what to do. Instead, he or she will inspire you to make choices unique to you. As a mentee, you shouldn’t emulate your mentor, you should always be yourself. And you might want to find a mentor who inspires you to be the best version of yourself.
3. A role model you trust and admire
Often, we feel ashamed of our failures or doubts, and it is difficult to talk about them. Although it is tough, addressing those weaknesses will be critical to find solutions and move forward. To do so, finding someone you can trust will be key.
Also, you may want to look for someone who has done something you admire. Your ideal mentor will be someone who guides you with his or her words and deeds. Even if it is not exactly what you want to achieve, a notable accomplishment will help you credit that person when you encounter obstacles along the way.
4. Think ahead for your interests
Your ideal mentor will not only be able to answer your questions. Mentoring is about thinking of the person in front of you and being able to anticipate what they need. The better your mentor knows you and the market you are in, the quicker they will be able to think ahead for your interests.
Their level of experience puts some mentors in a privileged position, where they can foresee the coming changes and suggest the most suitable business alternative for their mentee.
5. Mutual appreciation
Mentoring is a two-way road. Not only do mentees learn from mentors, but mentors also learn from their mentees. But more importantly, mentors need to believe in the person they are guiding and trust the mentee is the right person to execute the project successfully. In this sense, mutual appreciation is essential to build a genuine relationship and deliver the best possible results.
6. The right mentor for each stage
You may want to consider having more than one mentor. At each stage of your professional life, the barriers you will come across will change. Ideally, you may want to find one or more mentors with experience in each area, which can help you each step of the way.
Overall, finding the ideal mentor is not easy, and it may take time. But if you bear in mind the characteristics mentioned above, you will be able to identify your ideal mentors when you come across them.