Signs your business mentor isn’t working for you

Mentorship in business can be priceless

Signs your business mentor isn’t working for you

National Mentoring Day was marked on the 27th of October, raising awareness around the invaluable contribution mentoring can have on someone’s life and career. Having an expert guiding you through the process, connecting you to industry professionals, maximising your business performance, and revealing its full potential is a rewarding experience. However, not everything is plain sailing and the business mentor you have recruited may not be the best fit for you. If you have had doubts, not felt the full benefits of mentorship or have questioned the reliability of your mentor, then perhaps it’s time to look elsewhere. Here I will share the key signs that your mentor isn’t working for you and what you should do instead.

They have unrealistic expectations

When scouting for your ideal business mentor you may have a fixed criteria that you want that person to match. When meeting that person, you will discuss what it is you hope to achieve, your goals, your concerns, and your questions. The initial conversation doesn’t need to cover all the ground and certainly doesn’t need to have these wild expectations that your business may not be ready for. If you’re in the pre-seed funding stage, you may be aware that rounds are taking longer and longer. If your business mentor does not share the same view and is pressuring you to make a poor investment, or forcing you into a decision you might not be ready for, it can really affect you long-term. To avoid this or deal with the situation, you need to be clear with your mentor about what you expect and communicate your feelings about a specific decision. Mentors should be supportive and professional, and if they’re not you ought to look for someone else.

They are open to a chat but no a solution

Regular meetings with your business mentor allow you to stay aligned, and you are routinely kept up to date with the latest information and news. However, if you are finding these conversations not much is being addressed in your area of business and you’re not accomplishing what you want then this could strongly indicate that they are not the right fit for you, and it is time to move on. Before making the decision to drop your mentor, consider taking control of the meeting and assessing them on what they think can be done to drive the business forward. Ask them about previous clients and how they managed to overcome issues similar to yours and gauge their response. If the meetings still aren’t productive and you’re struggling to find common ground, it’s time to look for someone else. Establish what went wrong and how you can fix it and how the new mentor can be effective in filling the gaps your other mentor left. 

They are not challenging you

As well as developing your business and making it more profitable and marketable, business mentors can also be useful for your personal development. They can expand your business acumen, make you more investor-savvy, make you a more confident speaker and just make you a more competent business owner in general. If you are not being challenged and finding your experience too easy, then this can be a sign that your mentor isn’t right for you. This is not to say the relationship with your business mentor should be turbulent, things can go wrong, but if you are not being pushed and you’re not seeing the results you would expect then you need to branch out and seek a mentor who is capable of giving constructive criticism and is firm but fair in their approach.

They don’t have a record of success

When recruiting a mentor, you probably had some idea of their background or maybe you were introduced by a mutual friend. Knowing your mentor before you even start is difficult and you might not have asked all the right questions, particularly if you’re time-crunched and under pressure to find a solution. As a consequence, you may miss key details. If you later find out they don’t have a strong track record or if it is not easy to find out their mentorship history, then this can be a red flag. It is important to carry out proper background checks and ask around if people have had positive experiences with that mentor. Check their social media and their website for reviews and confirm whether they are suitable.

In conclusion, the more lessons we learn from our journey in business, the better we will be in transforming our sectors and improving people’s lives. Being honest with yourself is vital for authenticity and also to protect you and your business from false friends who may stumble your progress. Standing on your own two feet can be daunting, as well as the fear of offending people and losing connections in your network. Nevertheless, if you are thorough, detail-orientated, and strong-minded you will do well. If any of these signs are ringing alarm bells to you, you must act and take ownership of who you are as a business leader so you can succeed.

Shalini Khemka (CBE)
Shalini Khemka (CBE)

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