You may be at the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey or maybe you started a while back. How is it going?
Those working in corporate or working for other people often look across at the life of the entrepreneur and envy what an entrepreneur has. The idea of being your own boss and not having to answer to other people is a big attraction. The story also has that you are able to make a ton of money, live your dream life and have a huge amount of free time to spend as you please.
We know that this could not be further from the truth. Being your own boss takes massive amounts of discipline and maybe you do not remember when last you had an hour off, let alone a day.
Being an entrepreneur can be rather frightening and feeling that you are all alone with no one to ask the hundreds of things that you need to know.
Entrepreneurs who take the bold plunge of going to live their dream, somehow have bought into this idea that they need to do this on their own without professional help. When you ask if they are investing in themselves or have partnered with a professional they tell you that all the money is being fed back into the business. They say that they will look at partnering with a professional when they have made money.
There is the catch. Partnering with a professional can be the reason that you make that money in the first place. Also taking time to invest in your own personal development makes a tangible difference to your business results. Your business can only go as far as you have gone.
Let’s look at two different professionals who can have a positive impact on your life as an entrepreneur.
A Coach and a Mentor.
There are many different kinds of coaches and what is important is that you find a real one. That sounds crazy, but coaching is not regulated and so anyone can say that they are a coach. A Coach who is serious about their professionalism would be credentialed with an organisation like Coaches and Mentors of South Africa (COMENSA) www.comensa.org.za . COMENSA is the professional body for coaches and mentors. Credentialed coaches have proven to a panel that they have the required training and coaching hours in order to make a difference to their clients. Coaches partner with their clients in order for the client to be able to reach specific goals set by the client. They hold the client accountable to acquire the skills and knowledge and to do the steps to the goal. A coach does not have to have achieved the goal that the client is trying to achieve. A Coach does not tell you what to do, they do not give advice and they also do not do it for you. Types of coaches – life coaches help you to grow personally and a business coach works with you in your business for your business to grow. Your business can’t grow if you don’t grow though. There are lots of other coaches who work in specific areas of expertise called niches. Coaches are professional people and they are paid.
Mentors are a lot like coaches except for one big difference in that they have successfully done what you are wanting to do. They will work with you in a very specific area of what it is that you are trying to achieve. Mentors are willing to share how they did something by telling you or even showing you how they did it. Good mentors will work with you for you to work out how you could do something because it is not simply a case of how the mentor did it and it being a copy paste for the client to do it the same way. Mentors also need to be qualified, experienced and willing to help you. A lot of people think that mentors aren’t paid, but professional mentors are paid by someone. The person who mentors you at work is being paid not by you but by the business. Mentors can also be what we call sponsors in that they can put in a good word for you in the right places. A sponsor would be on the lookout for specific opportunities for you.
How would you find a coach or mentor?
Ask your colleagues and friends who they know or who have worked with.
Look for Coaches and Mentors who are credentialed with an organisation like COMENSA.
Be prepared to pay your coach and mentor.
If you are looking for a mentor – are you aware of the specific area that you would like to be mentored in? Look for someone you admire and has achieved what you are wanting to achieve.
Please do not approach your mentor with – ‘You should mentor me.’ This really doesn’t end up happily. Ask yourself what is in it for the coach or mentor? How would they benefit from coaching or mentoring you?
A coach or mentor can assist you in your entrepreneurial journey by allowing you to make less mistakes and to gain confidence, knowledge and ultimately experience. Professional coaches and mentors are bound by confidentiality and a code of ethics and conduct.
You really will never regret investing in you and your growth.
submitted by Colleen Qvist (Master Coach)
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author.