Effective Mentoring – The Key to Building a Win-Win Business
Anyone who has ever started, or even considered starting, a new business venture knows that one of the most terrifying aspects of this process is feeling confused, alone and overwhelmed. Offering effective mentoring can make the difference in any business. Whether MLM, marketing or direct sales, providing an opportunity to build real relationships within its structure will create a win-win scenario in which all concerned can grow and profit with ease.
What is Mentoring and Why is it Important?
Mentoring is the building of a relationship between an expert and an amateur, where the expert guides and educates the amateur in the field of his / her expertise. In other words, a season veteran takes a newbie under his / her wing and is there to offer guidance, support and education. Many businesses, especially those structured to function mainly online, offer limited support to their members. While any business that considers itself legitimate will have email support and possibly a ticket submission service, this does not by any means institute effective mentoring.
Effective mentoring requires building relationships. The very definition of a mentoring relationship requires reciprocal interaction. Most people think of a mentoring scenario almost like they do a classroom. They expect the mentor to do the teaching while the amateur passively internalizes the lessons taught. Yet others take it in the complete opposite direction. This happens a lot in business, unfortunately. The mentor gives the mentee just the basics that need to get started, and then sends them off to face the sharks in hopes to earn some profit from their efforts. These types of interactions, however, do not determine a relationship. Mentoring should be approached from a win-win perspective. A business that offers effective mentoring to its new members increases exponentially their chance for success, which in turn augments the retention rate. In the end, it is the business with the best training and support that recruitments, and maintains the most new members. Let's now explore both sides of this equation.
While people have a tendency to view the mentor as a teacher, I believe it is a more accurate analogy to compare a mentor with a parent. See, a teacher will provide information, test how well you comprehended and hopefully internalized the information, and then send you on your way. A parent will be there to support, guide, and encourage you every step of the way. That is the BIG difference, and what will set any business apart from the rest. Anyone can set up an inbox and put a system in place for responding to support tickets. It is even common for businesses to have a call center in place to answer technical questions, particularly if the business is run via the internet. This, however, does not cater to the human side of the venture. What happens when the amateur or newbie is frustrated or tired? What about when they are about to close their first sale and have no idea what approach to take? Or, what about when they finally close that first deal and need a pat on the back for their good work? That's what effective mentoring brings to the table. Yes, the mentor should guide the other person in setting up the business, and lead them to the right place when they need technical help. But real value comes with a true involvement and commitment to seeing this person through the beginning stages of the business and beyond.
Now, it is really common for the newbie to make the mistake of "milking" the mentor for all he / she's worth and then turning around to never look back. This is not the way to take full advantage of a mentoring relationship. First of all, all the advice in the world is of no consequence if it is not implemented. So, yes, listen to the advice of your mentor, then Put IT INTO ACTION! That is the largest responsibility that beats the mentee, actually taking action. Secondly, your mentor will appreciate and greatly benefit from, your honest, constructive feedback. Do not just complain or criticize. Tell her exactly which things worked and which did not and why. Go back over the steps and brainstorm about the things which could have been done differently and how those changes might affect the final outcome. This way, your mentor can point to things you might have misinterpreted or missed, and she can tweak her answers and the advice she gives next time the issue comes up.
The bottom line is that mentoring should be a win-win relationship. All parties involved should both contribute and gain from the interaction. This ensures that proper actions are taken, and aids everyone in reaching their goals. A business that takes the extra time and effort to put together a proper mentoring program with this kind of mindset, will reap the rewards as all its members reach their goals, and, in turn, work to promote and expand the company's vision.