A Mentor Is The Way To Go

A Mentor Is The Way To Go

A couple of days ago I interviewed the CEO of the Small Business Mentoring Service (SBMS) for an article I’m writing. The more we talked, the more I realised that a mentor is just what I need myself.

One thing that resonated particularly strongly was the idea that people often know in their heart what they need to do but lack the confidence to do it. For ages now I’ve been making little stabs at social media as a way of getting information about my books to a wider audience but, with no-one to reassure me that I’m on the right track, my enthusiasm has quickly waned.

So I got in touch with David Krynauw through the SBMS website and we had our first meeting today.
He gave me some great suggestions and has really inspired me to persevere with my online communication – but the thing I appreciated most, I think, was the enormous sense of relief that came with talking to someone who understood what I was on about and, importantly, isn’t trying to sell me something. Not even more mentoring sessions, though I’m looking forward to them.

I’ve written about mentoring before for Company Director magazine and realised then that even who have achieved the loftiest heights often feel lonely and isolated. Whatever size our business, whatever role we play, it seems we can all benefit from talking to someone we respect.

E.M. Forster has been credited with saying “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?”. I’d change that to “How do I know what I think until I hear what I say?”. And I believe that’s what mentoring is about – not being told what to do but having someone help you to crystallise your own thoughts, make suggestions and provide support.

So far, I’m a fan!

6 comments

  1. Thanks Domini. Great article! And it was a pleasure to meet you too.

  2. What a great way of expressing the value of mentoring Domini, I am sure that David along with all his fellow mentors at SBMS will appreciate the fact that what we all do is helping to make a difference to you and the many others we share our knowledge and experience with.

  3. Thanks, Keith.

    Just a few days ago small businesses failures were back in the news – there’s an interesting article at http://www.smartcompany.com.au/buy-or-sell-a-business/055073-top-reasons-for-small-business-failure-study.html – and lack of advice keeps cropping up as a major problem. Obviously, professional input is a must in some areas but I’m sure a lot of small business owners would benefit immeasurably from talking to someone who has been through the same process and could help them navigate challenges they may not even be aware of. I also suspect that many small business owners shrug off the idea, either because they don’t know how to go about finding a mentor or they presume the process would cost more than they can afford. As I so recently discovered, this is the beauty of the SBMS – as the mentors are trained volunteers it’s very accessible.

    • Thank you Domini for your link to the article and yes it is true that many SME’s find that advice often comes with a vested interest tag or as you put it someone wanting to sell you something. As mentors we all have particular area’s of expertise but we also have something in common and that is we are not driven by performance targets, KPI’s and commissions. We simply do it because we love what we do,and love sharing the knowledge and wisdom gained from having done it all our selves, and can look at problems objectively because we are emotionally detached.

  4. Domini, thank you so much for your article.
    Keith pretty much summed it all up – each of us has an area of expertise. Afterall, we can’t be everything to everyone!
    I love what I do and am driven to help others succeed in what they love doing. As an SBMS mentor, it’s my way of giving back – and there’s no strings attached!