Sunday, January 4, 2009

Business Lessons – a few thoughts on finding a mentor

We got this far doing what we have always done. To go further we need to do something different. It is shear insanity to do the things you have always done and expect different results. The inspiration for this post is Stephan Stavrakis who was kind enough to share the steps he used to find a mentor so he could take his business to the next level. Am not even going to tell you how much money he told me was left on the table in the last year – made me ill yet needed to know. 

Why do we need mentors or coaches – to share their knowledge such that we can apply it in creative and unique ways to our businesses by learning from their success and mistakes to grow. According to Caela Farren, Ph.D., Inc there are eight types of mentors

  1. Profession or Trade Mentor - This person will help you stay current on the important changes in your profession as well as react to your ideas about the new practices and competencies you need to master
  2. Industry Mentor – This person will help you Understand the trends, competitors, challenges and needed breakthroughs
  3. Organization Mentor – This person will help you clarify mission and strategies
  4. Customer Mentor – This person will help you get you up to speed on the various customers you serve
  5. Work Process Mentor – This person will help you understand the "ins and outs" of project management
  6. Technology Mentor – This person will help you understand and explore new technology
  7. Work/Life Integration Mentor – This person will help you negotiate life needs with work priorities
  8. Career Development Mentor – This person spots you, takes you under his/her wing, gives you coaching and advice, both personally and professionally 

So what steps do you use to find a mentor – according to Stephan Stavrakis he used seven steps: 

  1. I did alot of research on several "Coaches" and looked for walkers NOT just good talkers..
  2. Then I looked at Walkers - I needed to find someone that had experienced what I was experiencing
  3. I interviewed 20 of them until I found the one that overcame my current experienced and could prove it.
  4. Made sure he/she was a bigger visionary than me in terms of my business
  5. Then listened to their logic and their growth plans. Compared it to common sense
  6. Then made sure the person wasn't a YESMAN/WOMAN and really told me exactly what i had to hear.. Not being afraid to lose my business
  7. Ultimately, I chose the person I liked and they liked me because we had similar values.. Does that help? 

Suggest when you get a chance check out Stephan and following him on twitter or check out his site getting things done now.

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