Ant Hodges Mentoring

How to Develop and Become a Great Mentor to Others

Coaching, training and mentoring are skills that all Knowledgepreneurs need to possess and develop. Developing these three skills are going to be able to elevate you, your business and at the same time, ensure that every client your work with, or customer that buys your products or services, gets the result they are after.

So what is the difference between them? Aren’t they all just the same thing? Here’s my take:

  • Coaching is about helping people get to the point, where they realise for themselves, that change needs to happen.
  • Training gives people the tools and skills to then make change possible.
  • Mentoring is when you come alongside those you have coached or trained, to walk the path of implementation with them, having been on that path before.

Mentoring is like becoming a sherpa for those wanting to climb the mountain. It's is a skill like any other that can be learned and developed and requires discipline for both you as the mentor, and the individuals or groups that you choose to mentor.

Getting the Right Mentoring Clients

Taking clients on, at any kind of mentoring level, is very much like coaching, training and even as a service provider - you need to make sure they are a good fit for you. You have to get the right clients on board that will see the need to take action seriously and that they are committed to following through on suggestions made by you as the mentor. It sounds harsh, but you don't want to waste time with people who won't take things seriously or take action when needed. 

Dealing with Enquiries about Mentoring

When dealing with mentoring enquiries, ask the right questions to discover their work ethic, their motivations and their ultimate goal for starting or engaging with a level of mentoring. Then, you make the choice to accept them or not. Don’t agree to mentor someone just because they ask you, or worse still, just because you need the money. When you have an application process in place, and you accept the right people to mentor, life will be awesome.

Remember: Set Expectations Right from the Start

Setting expectations at the start of any mentoring journey is crucial for both you as the mentor and those that you are mentoring. Without this, sometimes it's hard for the customer to understand what they have bought and for you to have clarity on the goals for your mentoring with them. Get very clear on what your responsibilities will be as well as your expectation from your mentees. Even better, get a mentorship agreement or at least a code of conduct agreed for all mentoring sessions - this will ensure that there are no misunderstandings later on in any working relationship.

As a mentor, often your mentees will look for this, but for your sake and theirs, you must be firm in with your expectations. When commitment starts to wain, meetings are missed, mentoring sessions are not prioritised and action is simply not forthcoming from the person or people you are mentoring, it's safe to say that this may not be living up to the agreed expectations set out at the start and to serve them best and you, you may need to terminate the mentoring arrangement with people like this. It’s your choice. Give them a second chance, or let them get to three strikes, but remember one thing; both your time and their's is valuable. If it ends up getting wasted, your preparation time gets thrown in the trash as they simply don't show up, the best course of action in most cases would be simply to move on.

One lesson that I've learned is that I had to become a little harder with some mentees. My time in preparation and what I wanted to facilitate in a group to be, that served each other well, seemed to be at risk of being wasted due to mentees bringing apologies that they have other commitments taking priority. I get it, life happens, but as a "nice guy," it's difficult to be tough on people sometimes - particularly when you know things are not going great for them. What I realised though, is tough love is often exactly what is needed for them to see mentoring sessions a priority, it made the difference and it refocused them.

Don’t Sell Yourself Short

Another huge lesson for me was pricing. For years, I sold myself short. With over twenty years in the marketing world, over ten years as a trained business coach, right up to Mastercoach level and still running an agency, I didn't see the full value in what I was offering to people.

I knew that I had to give great value for the money but I found it difficult to charge what it was worth. I spent years undercharging for my mentoring until I broke the back of my limiting beliefs about money and what people would pay.

I had to balance my calling to serve against my need to be compensated at the right level for my time and effort. Far too many people said to me that I was "too cheap" or "I would pay ten times what I am to be part of this group." There's another side of the coin too. Not charging enough brought in the wrong mentees at times.

For me, those who aren’t willing to invest at the right level are not going to be good people for my mentoring, whether one on one to in a group. Pricing things correctly brought in the right people. Some people often think that it takes more effort, they need to be super salespeople or master manipulators to get attract and onboard high-paying clients - I was one of them until I saw that this belief was so untrue! If you are great at what you do, you can back it up with demonstrable results and feedback from previous customers, then you present a no-brainer of an offer, you will find people will be more than willing to pay your mentoring fees.

And Finally… Set Boundaries With Your Mentoring

My final tip if you are looking to offer or start any kind of mentoring in your business would be about boundaries. It’s perfectly fine to let your mentees call you, message you or email you outside of your mentoring sessions if you have that in your agreement or you set the expectation for it right from the start. However, don’t let mentees contact you for every small little challenge or detail.

I found that a lot of the mentoring sessions were taken up by something that could be found on Google or YouTube, or even worse, if they revisited previous conversations or in content that I had shared with them, the answers would be found. Let your mentees know ahead of time for what reasons they can contact you and set those expectations right from the start also.

Looking for Your Own Mentor?

If I can be of help in that search, or even if you want to consider applying for mentorship with me - click here and answer a few questions, then choose a date and time for us to have a FREE 20-minute call where we can chat things through, you can see if we are a good fit and then maybe we can start this journey together. 

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