How to choose a mentor?
This is one of the most important questions for every leader that wants to build authentic leadership style, have profound impact and generate changes in places where most people do not even put their foot. And it is not only about how you choose your mentor as a leader, but it is what kind of a mentor you are and what kind of development culture you create in or through your business.
I am approaching this topic from various angles, so bare with me if interested in finding out would you choose yourself for a mentor...
All greater companies have departments that are in charge of people development. There are programs from top talents programs, low performers processes, individual and team improvement plans, peer coaching, shadowing, group and individual mentoring, training, workshops, skill based or mindset based 1on1 work with specialists. Many medium or smaller companies are outsourcing experts in people development areas. Every successful entrepreneur has business mentor and various coaches for different aspect of their business and life. Business investors and angels are participating in incubators, accelerators or hubs where individuals with business ideas are going through mentorship programs. Business seminars, conferences and one day events are offered for wider public.
Self-knowledge industry is perceived as 2nd largest industry in expansion and women are main consumers. But, this is not a new fashion trend. From ancient times, philosophers had their own academies, alchemists had circles of people that would learn their mystic knowledge, people were looking for support and guidance from starts, prophets, mediums, pastors, gods… Women have always been capable of creating their own accountability groups (as those trusted circles are called now).
And as a woman working in self-knowledge industry, as a mentor and mentee... I have concluded that accountability is in the very the root of why we are creatures who live in packs and not as alone, isolated and in complete seclusion. Accountability can be limited to only someone holding you responsible to do what you promised (yourself) you will do. But, for Moonshot thinkers, visionary leaders and pioneers, accountability is reflected in every aspect of their lives.
I love saying that how you do anything is how you do everything.
It is exactly that – authentic leaders make choices about their partners, friends, business environment, projects and even family members that they keep the close touch – taking into consideration DO THEY WANT TO BE ACCOUNTABLE TO… AND TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE BY… people they work and live among.
And, this is exactly how you choose your mentor. Ask yourself is that certain someone THE ONE you want to be accountable to.
Next blog section will help you answer that question.
Your mentor (or accountability group) should be:
There where you want to be: Have specific knowledge or experience that you can benefit from / have similar career or development path and are few steps in front of you / have a certain network of people that you want to be the part of.
Capable of influencing you in two ways: You should feel motivated, inspired and empowered, but also it should feel a bit scary as well. This is how progress is made, your success mentor should never allow you to play small.
Your “soul match”: From energetic, spiritual and visionary aspect. This means that you are compatible to keep up in all three areas, the pace of growth, the levels of growth and the magnitude of growth. In here fall all those traits like moral, integrity, ethical behavior and other virtues that are important to you and at non-negotiable level.
Another important aspect of choosing your mentor, your accountability groups or any other environment... is that you do not want to be the smartest person in the room. This is not my big revolutionary discovery – it is a piece of advice you will get from everyone who ever achieved to live what was once a dream. And I agree. Look carefully around you and see if your environment is like a teaser trailer for a movie you simple must watch, it is great production, top performers and you are so curious and eager to know more...or is it more like a commercial for a movie that seems like you have seen it million times before, same plot with different names.
And to conclude, I would like to point out that your mentor, trainer, guide, coach... must not be idealized. This is a person from flash and blood, just as you are, that made his or hers share of wrong turns, this is a person that sometimes did something wrong to another person, made mistakes that you probably do not want to even know about. This is the person that is not always nice, polite, happy, shiny, inspiring, motivation, living 24/7 in a the place of power. This is someone who is day by day consciously making an effort to be better, kinder, stronger person than the day before. This is someone who consciously chooses growth. Who gets up no matter how many times falls. Who raises after every burn out. This is someone who lives in piece with both, light and shadow personality sides and every day walks one step closer to the place of wisdom, equity and love.
You are not born to walk the growth path on your own, every person in your life is influencing you in a certain way. Make sure that the person and the way that influences you the most is THE ONE. Also, make sure that you and your way of influencing is THE ONE. For the world.
Your Leadership Mentor,
Leadership is a lifestyle, not a job title.