As I’ve been learning about formal mentoring programs (where you pay for advice, systems and counsel in an area you are looking to grow) I’ve been thinking about the idea of “paying” for mentoring. In the past I had the idea that mentoring is something that more experienced people just do as a way to “give back.” Then I realized this thinking is flawed. Whether there is a formal professional mentoring relationship, or an informal one, in order for them to be successful there should always be some type of exchange of value.
Miriam-Webster’s definition of a mentor is: a trusted counselor or guide.
Have you had a mentor in your business life?
If you’ve been in the business world for a while, chances are you’ve had formal as well as informal ones. Likely you’ve been a mentor to someone else as well.
Informal mentors –
These might be people who love and care about you, who want to see you succeed. For me I think of my dad, who had his own architecture firm for years, as my first mentor. He held the vision of me being in my own business well before I did. Then there’s my friend Debbie’s dad, Richard Mesirow, who was an incredible mentor for me in the financial services industry. I’ll never forget one of the first pieces of advice he gave me when I worked for him during the summers in college. I said I didn’t think I wanted to be in financial services because I didn’t want to sell. He said “what I do isn’t selling; I’m adding value and helping people.” I thought ‘well I can do that!’
These are people you can call for advice and they are happy to help.
How you pay them: You “pay” them through gratitude and quite possibly through your success. These people will feel so great knowing they had a positive impact on you.
Mentors from a distance –
These might include someone like an author or a speaker who you don’t know personally. Lynne Twist, author of The Soul of Money, was a mentor to me for many years even before I actually had the opportunity to meet her. I learned so much from her wisdom and it deeply informed my views on prosperity and money. I had followed her for years and then actually met Lynne in person. And when I got to travel to the Amazon Rainforest with her it was amazing for me.
These are people who don’t even know they are mentoring you, but you are guided to a better future by their example and teachings. You might be this type of mentor for someone and not even be aware of it.
How you pay them: You “pay” these types of mentors by recommending their books, sharing their posts, commenting, and perhaps even sending them a note of gratitude.
Formal mentoring programs through your company or organization –
Many firms and organizations have mentoring programs. I’ve helped set up a program like this at my former financial services firm. This is where you are paired with someone who has experience you’d like to gain. The key is to have a match that is a good fit. What you are looking for is an area where they excel. As a mentee you are driving the relationship. You are asking for advice in areas you want to grow.
How you pay them: You “pay” them with great follow through so they feel their advice is being heard. You express your gratitude and share your wins. They also get paid by learning from you and through the experience of having to clarify their own processes in a way that they can communicate well with you.
Professional mentoring relationships –
You engage or enroll in a program or one-on-one relationship with people who can help you grow in areas you need knowledge and support. Over the years I’ve been in a variety of these types of relationships. I just didn’t call them mentoring programs. For example, while we were writing what became our book Picture Your Prosperity, I worked with Chris Attwood, Janet Attwood, Marci Shimoff and Geoff Affleck (all bestselling authors) to learn how to write a great book proposal, work with an agent, etc. Their mentoring helped us to write a book and get on the NY Times Bestseller list. I would not have done this without their mentoring. A great return on my investment with them. I’ve joined other mentoring programs over the years for my speaking and now I’m involved with the Thought Leaders Business School and being mentored by one of their founders, Peter Cook.
How you pay them: Well … you actually pay them. The way I’ve always assessed whether it would be a worthwhile investment is to think: how many new clients, or speaking engagements, would I need to recoup this cost? I’ve never been sorry that I’ve invested in myself and my business.
Every good wish,
P.S. When the time is right … If you’re looking for ways to turn your vision into reality for your business and want to chat about how to do that send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and put “let’s chat!” in the subject line.
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