Posts Tagged ‘Google News’

Be a Truth-Teller: Advice for Better Mentoring

Posted on: November 1st, 2015 by News presented by How to Mentor No Comments

As a small business owner, you forge strong bonds with your staff and serve as their teachers, whether you realize it or not. Foster better, more honest relationships with those team members with these great tips from our recent panel on small business mentoring.

  1. Be respectful. Maria Contreras-Sweet, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s current chief, says mentors should avoid ‘gotcha’ moments. Instead, see critiques as a chance to be someone’s champion and to offer help and guidance.
  2. Seek to understand, not judge. Poornima Vijayashanker suggests you lead with compassion and the desire to understand your staffer mentees to know what’s driving their decisions before rushing to judgment. Jenn Piepszak, a national sales executive at Chase, agrees. “Truth-telling is very effective when combined with empathy,” adding that understanding the context of the development opportunity is essential.
  3. Be good to them. Truth-telling depends on trust. Build trust with staff you’re mentoring by removing obstacles in their path and giving them the resources they need, suggests Contreras-Sweet.
  4. Ask “What can I do better?” Says Contreras-Sweet, this simple question won’t just make it easier to help your mentee. It will even the playing field and allow for an honest two-way conversation.
  5. Help them think big. The bigger picture isn’t always obvious, says Bridget Weston Pollack, vice president of marketing and communications of small business non-profit SCORE. Take the time to educate the mentees in your company so they understand how their role and problems fit into your business’s overall timeline.  

Why a Good Mentor Can Help Take an Entrepreneur’s Business to the Next Level

Posted on: June 1st, 2015 by News presented by How to Mentor No Comments

Most entrepreneurs know that the skills needed to launch a new business are often quite different from the skills needed to maintain a growing enterprise. That's what Marc Diana, founder of personal finance site, discovered after he launched his first business venture 15 years ago.

For most business owners, corporate growth is exactly what they're working toward. "You start with one employee — yourself — but then the business grows," says Diana. "Eventually you're running an organization with several hundred employees. That change comes with challenges."

It's a sobering fact of entrepreneurial life that launching a new venture with a skeleton crew and leading a large-scale organization that's suffering growing pains are jobs that require vastly different sets of skills. According to Diana, not all CEOs are up for the transition. "For me, I was open to the idea that if I wasn't the right person, we'd find someone else to bring the company to the next level," says Diana. "Before we did that, though, I wanted to see if I could be the right person."

Finding Trusted Advisors
Diana enlisted the help of not one, but three trusted advisors. "I was particularly looking for people who had an interest in me personally," says Diana. "Not a lot of people can have an interest in you personally when you're paying them. I also wanted to identify people who had navigated the challenges I was facing."

In the end, Diana found a handful of seasoned, successful businessmen who were still active in the business community but who also had the bandwidth to help an aspiring first-time CEO, such as himself. "The amount of value and insight I received from those individuals was unbelievable," says Diana. "They helped arm me with all this information that helped me shift from being behind the business problems at hand to putting them on the solution track."

How Advisors Helped
Because of their vast experience, Diana's mentors could see his business challenges from a different vantage point and could offer advice that helped him grasp problems much faster than he could have on his own. "They could explain to me why the company was experiencing pain. They told me what was going to happen next within the company and how certain people were going to react. They even gave me advice on how to best handle those situations as CEO," says Diana.

Because of the guidance from his advisors, Diana reached the point where he could see problems before they arose. "I could see them percolating in the back. I was able to start cutting off those issues before they became problems in my company."

Finding Good Mentors
There's no one place to look for a good mentor. In fact, they can sometimes pop up in the most unexpected of places. For Diana, his first mentor was a former employer who'd gone on to have a tremendously successful career buying and selling companies. The second was a former colleague and the third was a paid advisor whom a business partner had discovered at a professional conference. "I stumbled upon mine," says Diana. 'I never did a search and interviewed people and then picked the best one. It was very fortuitous for me to have the coaches I have."

"In today's web-enabled business world," Diana continues,

where we transact important business with people we've never physically met, mentors can come from a dizzying array of countries and industries. For example, on our personal finance community, entrepreneurs can get free advice from seasoned professionals, and perhaps even find a mentor.

Diana is just one of 30 entrepreneurs I recently spoke with as part of my free, upcoming 10-day Art of Mindful Wealth Summit, which launches January 26. If you're looking to build or grow a successful business in 2015, you won't want to miss this free, exclusively online event. I hope to see you there.

I'd love to hear how mentors and coaches have helped you succeed in your business, use the comments below to share your experiences.

5 Traits of a great mentor

Posted on: February 11th, 2015 by News presented by How to Mentor No Comments

A Huffington Post article defines mentoring as a “partnership where a ‘mentee’ is assigned to a more experienced ‘mentor’, who passes on valuable aspects of their own accumulated experience and wisdom for the benefit of the mentee’s personal and professional development.” However, as the same article explains, mentoring has evolved and often both individuals play the roles of mentor and mentee. For instance, now “mentors gain an understanding of the world view of another generation and equally, mentees can help senior colleagues to see new perspectives and shifts in societal behavior, for instance, the growing importance of social networks.”

So if you’re on a quest to find the right mentor, you need to sit up and pay attention. This shake-up in the roles and expectations associated with mentoring affects what you should look for in a mentor. Not only do you need to consider if someone will be a good mentor in the traditional sense, you also need to contemplate if the person will be a good “student.” To help you sift through your options, here are five traits that set a great mentor apart.

A mentoring relationship is based on communication, and the most important aspect of communication is listening. You want a mentor who understands the difference between hearing and listening – someone who strives to understand what you’re trying to say. This is crucial when you’re trying to describe a situation in order to get their input, as well as when you’re trying to explain a new concept, such as social media.

Young At Heart
There are some people who have always been old at heart, while there are others who will always be young at heart. When you’re looking for a mentor, find someone who is the latter. Certainly, if you’re helping your mentor understand the differences in work culture or between the generations, it will make your job easier. But, it will also help mentors relate to you and give better advice if they remember what it was like to be young.

It takes a courageous person to open up and be honest at the level required for a truly successful mentorship. But even beyond that, you need to find a mentor who has had some major career failures and yet still had the courage to keep trying. The more mistakes someone has bounced back from, the more experience they’ll have to share and the more helpful they’ll be as a mentor. Plus, this will be the kind of mentor who isn’t afraid to ask questions and learn new things from you.

If you want to get the most out of a mentoring relationship – with both of you giving and taking – you want a mentor who is teachable. While a know-it-all advisor might be helpful for a while, you’ll soon get tired of the attitude and start wishing for someone more open minded. This is something you really want to pinpoint because it ultimately goes back to expectations. Does your mentor just want to give you advice and tell you what to do? Or does your mentor want a reciprocal relationship so he or she can learn new things from you too?

Inquisitive people are generally successful people, which is exactly what you want in a mentor. You need someone who is curious about your life and wants to know how to help. A naturally curious person will encourage your own curiosity and push you to never stop learning. That need-to-know drive will also ensure the mentorship is a two-way relationship, with your mentor learning from you as well.

Mentoring is no longer the one-way street it once was. An article from Forbes echoes the same sentiment and explains that, “Effective mentorship relationships enrich both people.” So make sure you keep that in mind as you seek out a mentor. A great mentor will also make a great mentee.