The terms “mentor” and “coach” are frequently used interchangeably.
But, at the Top Executive or Business Owner Level, the role of a Mentor is clearly distinguishable from that of a Coach.
A Business mentor would most often be older than the client and should be an independent expert with extensive high-level business experience from outside the company.
Business Mentoring relationships are normally more informal than coaching, and meetings are usually scheduled periodically, but can be held at short notice as and when the client needs advice, guidance or support.
In many cases,the client will seek a business mentor for advice or an independant opinion, or point of view on one or more issues, but without a defined task to fulfil.
The client/coach relationship, on the other hand, generally has a set duration and is more structured, with a specific, clearly defined task to fulfil.
Business Mentors usually hired by CEOs, Directors, Owners of Businesses or Senior Executives, either to provide an independent expert opinion one one or more issues, or with a view to improving the performance of these individuals and their business.
The Business Mentors’ role is usually to pass on his or her experience in relation to any issues, or concerns the client has, both specific to the business, or non-work-related matters if the client wishes to discuss them, especially if they are having an impact on their focus and performance in the business
The Business Mentor would most often be older than the client and should be an independent expert with extensive high-level business experience from outside the company.
It’s normally an ongoing relationship that can last from 6 months to many years.
The duration of the mentoring relationship will depend on the rapport that the Mentor and the client (Mentee) build in the earlier stages.
Both sides must be comfortable with it and it must be mutually beneficial (not just financially).
Some mentoring relationships last a lifetime, whilst others last for only a short time if the client’ need is to reach a specific goal or objective. Or if either party “opts out”
It is generally more informal than coaching, and meetings can take place as and when the client needs advice, guidance or support, at short notice. Although a regular review meeting should ideally be scheduled for at least once a month.
Once the client feels comfortable with and trusts the mentor, he or she is much more likely to open-up to an outsider than someone from within the business, including board members, and as a result will get greater value from the relationship.
The agenda is set by the client, with the mentor providing support and guidance on any strategic issues the client wants input on from an independent and trusted advisor.
When will you need a Business Mentor?
Most client/business mentor relationships will be initiated by the client for one or a number of the following reasons:
- When you recognise that the business strategy or performance needs to rise to a new level
- When you are facing immediate issues and need a fresh view
- When you are facing challenges inside and outside of the business
- When you are considering or preparing the business for sale or an initial public offering (IPO)
Or when you need to:
- maintain your edge
- be challenged
- develop and transform
- have a sounding board for ideas
- have guidance regarding the future direction of the business, or
- get personal support
This is a strictly confidential service between you and your Mentor
Typically, business mentors meet with you on a one-to-one basis or otherwise by agreement, so you can include other people as appropriate.
This will be most common in:
- Family businesses, where other family members may need to be involved at some of the sessions, depending on the topic being discussed
- Large corporate environments, other directors, or senior management or other relevant key personnel
- SMEs- it maybe appropriate to include a small group of senior executives
What Qualities Should Your Business Mentor Demonstrate?
To qualify as a business mentor someone should:
- Be experienced as a CEO, Director, CFO or have run a substantial business
- Have broad business experience and bottom-line reporting responsibility
- Have hands-on experience in all aspects of business including:
Finance, strategy, marketing, operations, and people management.
They must also:
- Demonstrate exceptional people skills,
- Have a strong desire to help people succeed
- Have a genuine desire to share their skills, experiences, successes, mistakes and lessons learned
The role of a CEO/Business owner or top level executive can be very challenging, and at times could become overwhelming. Particularly at a time the business is going through a difficult phase or rapid growth or change.
As a result, these situations can also lead to personal issues, and if that happens it can have an adverse impact on the executives business performance.
He or she will often be reluctant to seek help or advice from a board member or senior colleague as that could potentially lead to their position being undermined or even threatened.
So having a suitably qualified business mentor, with the right experience as a trusted advisor, can be a better option.
If this sounds like someting that could work for you, I recommend you read this article:
Or, If you believe I might be able to assist you to take your business and life to the next level, and you would like to learn more, please book a free 30 minute strategy consultation with me on my calendar below:
We can do this, preferably on Skype or Zoom Meetings where we can be face to face, or by phone if that suits you better. I look forward to meeting you:
Or just call me for an initial chat. My mobile number is 0418 277 137
Thanks for your consideration.