Mentorship is a wonderful thing. A mentor is someone who you have a relationship with for the sake of getting advice, learning, and receiving general guidance. They are an experienced and trusted adviser. My mentors happen to be my good friends the same way many of my clients are.
Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Airlines wrote about the importance of a business mentor. “It’s always good to have a helping hand at the start. I wouldn’t have got anywhere in the airline industry without the mentorship of Sir Freddie Laker. Now, I love mentoring young entrepreneurs”
Mentors are not necessarily experts in everything. They are knowledgeable or experienced in a few skill sets or industries. They have one or two specialized areas of expertise such as raising capital, ecommerce or asset management.
There are many articles in business journals on how to approach and ask someone to be your mentor. They make it sound like asking someone to prom; nerve racking and risky! This has never been an issue for me. My mentors and I found each other, we are fortunate.
Mentors remain with their charges; they do not abandon them when things go off the expected course. Being a mentor can be challenging at times. It is not all about introductions and coffee meetings. It can mean long hours of working together. Taking on the responsibility of being a mentor means standing up your charge when their ideas are not easily accepted.