3 Things to Consider When Choosing a Mentor
I kept apologizing to my professor when I was working on my novel for my masters in creative writing.
You know, because my writing sort of sucked compared to his and he was so busy that his desk was stacked with novels and history books and literary journals that wouldn’t fit on the shelves or the stacks around the room and he was trying to write his own novel too.
But all the same, I would send him crappy drafts of chapters of my novel and he would comb through, suggest clearer ways to phrase things, challenge my character development, and ask questions.
I would sit in his brightly lit office and I was always so surprised that the questions in my story were actually getting at stuff that was more profound than I was giving it credit for.
He helped me realize that the project had a soul of its own. A beating heart. A beautiful mind. And it was worth sharing.
But...he also didn’t hesitate to tell me that the draft was a definite ten full drafts away from being published. But somehow that didn’t make me more worried. I guess it’s because it just made me think, “okay, so it’s just a matter of time and energy. Not a matter of whether I suck or not.”
I also realized that to create something big that takes hundreds of hours (like a novel or a business), it’s not a one-person kind of thing.
So why do we often try to build our business on our own? Without someone to help who's been there?
That’s definitely what I was trying to do in the beginning.
And it wasn’t working at all.
Things clicked when I sort of found a coach on accident. I didn't go looking for one. But then I felt like I was back in my masters program, ready to soak in every word from my new mentor and take action and I finally felt confident.
Every week my coaching call was like a bright beacon in a dark abyss. Like recharging my battery. Like finding a bathroom at the eleventh hour on a roadtrip. Any sort of relief/repowering cliche you can think of--that was it.
The call would sustain me with hope, confidence, and clarity through the next week. Except for sometimes when I would wake up in the middle of the night, feeling sick to my stomach, wondering if I had made the right decision or if I was just freaking crazy for trying to build this. Wondering if people would actually buy my products. Wondering if my putting my family’s welfare on the line would be our doom.
But for that one hour, my dreams weren’t just possible, they were part of my near future.
Any barriers I felt before the call just weren’t there for that glorious hour and after. I’d come out of my studio wide-eyed and full of energy and recount everything we talked about to Michael.
Almost every time he would just say, “you have to do everything she says!” And I would just nod like, “of course!”
And I did.
And then when coaching ended, the momentum continued. I was actually making money. Way more than I had expected.
I wanted to write this blogpost because I know a lot of people hear about business coaches and they’re not sure what coaches do or if coaching is right for them or if coaches really make a difference. But a coach changed my life. And I wanted to pass that on.
Want to know what a coach does in a nutshell?
Helps you find your strengths (or “areas of genius” as I like to call them) that will knock people’s socks off.
Kindly pulls your attention away from ideas that won’t serve you or your time well at present.
Helps you come up with ideas that will create a big impact and create revenue--the lifeblood of your business.
Educates you on all of the latest marketing strategies and her experiences with them.
Helps you put together a launch strategy for your next big project.
Helps you navigate collaborations including etiquette, brand alignment, and building good connections.
Helps you find clarity in every area of your business.
Helps you determine what will be good investments for you at present and what will not be.
Helps you create content that connects with your audience and brings in your ideal client.
Helps you connect what you're really passionate about to profits.
Helps you stay confident, clear-headed, and secure when you feel doubt, discouragement, and hopelessness.
Helps you create routines and practices in your life that allow you to keep and build your most important relationships (including your relationship to yourself) while you build your empire.
Helps you either make preparations or start bringing in people to build your team, automate, and scale your business.
Finding a coach might be right for you if:
You’ve already tried some online courses and they haven’t given you the results you hoped for.
You're such a perfectionist that you find you're holding yourself back.
You’re ready to get one on one feedback from someone who’s been there. And you don’t want them to hold back. You need what they know.
You’re spinning your wheels and hardly anything is happening.
You’re not seeing the revenue you want.
You’re not seeing the profits you want.
You’re not having your ideal clients reach out (or any potential clients, for that matter).
You’re not seeing the time you want for your life.
You’re wanting to take your business to the next level but you’re feeling huge walls separating you from that.
You feel like an insane person when you used to be relatively reasonable before your business.
You don’t like what you’re spending your time on but you know you could really love your business if you did.
I have so been there with all of these! And for me, coaching was the answer.
When you decide it's time for a mentor, you'll want to make sure you choose wisely. Not every coach is right for everyone.
Here are 3 things to consider when choosing your business mentor:
1. Remember that your coach will have a lot of influence on your brand, business, and life. Because chances are, she’ll be teaching you based off what has worked for her and what's worked within the network she’s surrounded herself with.
Useful questions to ask:
Do you like what she’s building? Y N
Do you like her products and the way she sells? Y N
Is she making the kind of money you want to be making at her stage in business? Y N
Do you appreciate the way she communicates? Y N
Do you like the life she’s building? Y N
Does she value what you value? Y N
Is there something about her that just connects with you? Y N
Do I like the kind of impact she’s making in her industry? Y N
2. Is she too far ahead? This one is surprising. Sometimes business coaches who have been in the game for a long time may have used strategies that don’t work anymore. If that's true for you, it's really important to know whether they keep up on all of the latest strategies. For example: if she already had tens of thousands of followers before the Instagram algorithm and before it became such a noisy platform, she probably used totally different strategies than the ones people are using to grow now.
Useful questions to ask:
Do I want to be where she is when I’m at her stage in business? Y N
Am I already past her stage in business? Y N
How quickly has she been able to grow? _____
Is she too far ahead? Y N
3. When you trust your coach, you’ll do things you never thought you had the confidence for, knowing you’ve got someone you trust rooting for you and helping you be accountable. At first, my husband didn't quite trust her because he often thought my coach was an overpaid cheerleader until I explained again and again that (even though I know my coach was so giving and encouraging) that the way for my coach to grow her own business beyond the money I had paid for coaching was to help me achieve amazing results. And you know what? My success story brought her tons of new clients.
Do you trust her? Y N
When you get on a call with her, does she make you feel like your dreams are possible? Y N
Do you feel like her content is honest? Y N
Your coach should feel like someone who will help you remove obstacles. Do you feel that lightness and hope when you talk? Y N
If you keep those 3 things in mind when seeking your business coach, you'll find someone who will help you create the meaningful business that's in your heart.
Image by Andrew and Mashaida Tran.