The right people can provide us with insight for the next step, but the wrong people can send us down a path that can take months to find our way back from. To establish mentor/mentee fit, ask these questions to ensure that you choose the right mentor who can guide you on the path to success.
Would I trade shoes with this person?
It’s essential to look for individuals who have accomplished what you aspire to achieve. This person should be someone who has already been in your shoes and knows what it takes to get to where you want to be. They will be able to offer you practical advice based on their own experiences, and you’ll be able to learn from their mistakes and successes. Make sure to do your research and look for someone who has a proven track record of success in your industry.
You should find people who have done the thing you are seeking advice on and focus specifically on those with a similar context (in an adjacent, but non-competing industry to yours) as well as someone who has done it recently (all skills have a shelf life).
Does this person have my best interests at heart?
When seeking advice, you want to find someone who is committed to your success. This person should be invested in your growth and willing to work with you over the long term. A good mentor will be someone who believes in your potential and wants to help you achieve your goals. Look for someone who is willing to put in the time and effort to help you succeed, even if it means going above and beyond what is expected.
You will also want to screen for whether your mentor has any bias that could muddy their feedback. A Facebook Ads Freelancer may tell you that the way to improve your customer acquisition will be, you guessed it, Facebook Ads.
Do they take their own advice?
It’s essential to look for someone who practices what they preach. This person should be able to demonstrate that they take their own advice and apply it to their own life or business. This is important because it shows that they have firsthand experience with the advice they’re giving and have seen results from it. Look for someone who can share specific examples of how they’ve applied their advice and the impact it’s had on their own success. This will help you determine whether their advice is practical and effective.
Does the person giving advice “eat their own dog food?” You can gauge this by not asking what you should do, but by asking what they did when they ran into a similar situation.
Do they have experience mentoring others?
It’s important to find someone who has experience mentoring others. This person should have a track record of success in helping people achieve their goals. Look for someone who is willing to share their knowledge and insights and has testimonials or references from previous mentees. This can give you a sense of their mentoring style and whether it’s a good fit for you.
If you are building a startup, consider looking at people who mentor relevant incubator and accelerator programs. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your network to ask who mentors them on their business objectives. Don’t forget that MentorCruise is an incredible resource that allows you to search and filter through many mentors to find the right one for you.
Do they offer honest and constructive feedback?
You want someone who is willing to give you honest and constructive feedback. This person should be able to identify areas where you need to improve and offer suggestions for how to do it. At the same time, they should also be able to recognize your strengths and help you leverage them to your advantage. A good mentor will not sugarcoat things but will provide feedback that is actionable and helps you grow.
Put simply, you are not looking for someone to be a “yes-man,” but rather someone who will be real with you so that you can grow through the mentor/mentee relationship.
Are they a good listener?
You want to find someone who is a good listener. This person should be able to listen to your concerns and offer thoughtful feedback. They should ask questions that help clarify your thinking and identify areas where you need to improve. A good mentor will be someone who is patient, empathetic, and able to understand your perspective.
Ask yourself: “Did I feel heard during that call?” If you find that your mentor is interrupting you or throwing out ideas without understanding your specific context, it is best to thank them for their time and find someone else.
Do they offer a different perspective?
Seeking advice from someone who shares your beliefs and values can be important, but it’s also essential to seek out people who offer a different perspective. This person may challenge your assumptions and help you see things from a different angle. This can be especially helpful when you’re feeling stuck or unsure of which direction to take. Be open-minded and willing to listen to differing opinions, as this can lead to new insights and ideas.
Find business mentors who have worked in similar situations to yours, but grew through different approaches. This helps you explore all options and think more critically about how you will achieve success.
Do they have their own mentors?
It’s important to look for someone who has their own mentor or coach. This person should both understand the value of having someone to guide and support them, and be willing to pay it forward by offering their own insights and guidance. A good mentor should be able to share their own experiences with their mentor and how it has helped them grow both personally and professionally.
Look for someone who is committed to ongoing growth and development, and who recognizes the importance of seeking out advice and guidance from others. Having a mentor of their own can also help them provide more valuable and informed advice to you, as they will have firsthand experience of the mentor/mentee relationship from the other side.
Choosing the right business mentor can be challenging but it is a critical decision that can impact the success of your career. Remember these takeaways when selecting the best business mentor for you:
Look for individuals who have accomplished what you aspire to achieve and have a proven track record of success in your industry.
Find someone who is committed to your growth, believes in your potential, and is willing to work with you over the long term.
Choose someone who practices what they preach and has firsthand experience with the advice they’re giving.
Seek out people who can offer a different perspective, challenge your assumptions, and help you see things from a different angle.
Look for someone who has their own mentor or coach and is committed to ongoing growth and development.
Max is an executive coach with The CEO Strategy. We help first-time founders illuminate blind spots to identify business growth opportunities by providing founder-first coaching tested with 200+ entrepreneurs so that you achieve peak performance across yourself, your team, and your business.
If you are interested in connecting with Max, apply through his MentorCruise Mentor Page here.