Success is no slam dunk. It requires focus, planning, a relentless drive for results and much more. Having access to a mentor or network of mentors can make all the difference on the journey to entrepreneurship.
There’s an abundance of content on topics like “Why Mentorship is Important” or “Key attributes of Mentors” but not so much on validating mentor-mentee relationships.
I came up with 3 key elements I use to evaluate the effectiveness of my mentor relationships:
- Accountability: Good mentors help you embrace accountability. They help you understand the importance of being accountable to yourself. My mentors helped me take ownership of my vision for myself and pushed me to hard to think about how I wanted to measure outcomes. When you veer off plan a good mentor helps you quickly see that and challenges you to get back on track.
- Clarity: Leaders, Entrepreneurs – all have grand visions to make a difference. Clear and well defined execution is the difference between being deemed a one hit wonder, taking off or falling flat. A good mentor will uncomfortably push us to think clearly and define specific objectives to achieve results. In an information heavy world, being able to tune out the noise to see and think clearly is valuable.
- Perspective: Issues will arise while running a business or leading a company. It’s important to have a broad view on challenges and recognize whether a problem is worth a resolution, how much of your time is worth investing and whom to delegate to, always carefully evaluating trade-offs. Easier said than done at most times. A strong sense of perspective is a by-product of good mentorship. Having perspective means we have the ability to be brutally honest with ourselves and direct our focus on what matters most.
We are all different and mentors are people too. Relationships are never perfect and require time, effort and investment. Most meaningful mentor-mentee relationships have a fair amount of healthy debate, critical thinking and you can almost always pick up and continue from where you last left off.
The mentor-mentee relationship is a special bond that can last a lifetime. It is worth reflecting on where we are with our mentor relationships and vice versa.