Why Even the Mentor Needs a Mentor
Myth: When you become successful, you no longer require guidance.
Do you agree with this? Do your plans include “not having to spend time and money on coaches anymore”? Do you think you are doing so well you can just coast from this point on?
Well, as hard as it may be to hear, your need for others to consult with will never go away. In fact, it will probably only grow.
You see, you'll never be able to see your business from the outside. That means there's a good chance you'll miss small things here and there you could tweak to dramatically improve your bottom line.
That's why athletes and entertainers have coaches. At the highest professional level, they are all at their peak. But they still need someone to look at them from the outside and help improve the small things that make a difference.
Especially their “mental” game.
So, today I'm going to share with you the importance of having a mentor, at any level, and what best fits your needs.
You'll see how a difference in wording can get you two completely different coaching experiences…
The best cure for the number one ailment Expertpreneurs™ suffer from…
And why many business owners happily spend $10,000+ a year for access to a coach or mentor, even when they are already financially successful…
A Coach or a Consultant?
Perhaps the most obvious form of mentorship for an Expertpreneur™ would be a “business coach.”
But what do you think of when someone says “coach”?
By definition, a business coach helps you focus on your best talents. They work with you to define your goals and strategies, while uncovering your strengths. So you can run your business optimally without stress, maximizing productivity and profits.
You'll brainstorm ideas, create an action plan, and they will hold you accountable. This is especially useful when starting out, or when launching a new product or service.
There is also an element of personal development. A business coach will dig deep with you to combat any self-limiting ideas you struggle with, as well as working on focus and motivation.
In effect, you're getting life coaching mixed in with your business coaching. And it is very effective.
In fact, even Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, had a business coach. He worked with Bill Campbell, “the coach of Silicon Valley”, to help him see his business from a different perspective.
And guess how well that went? Eric Schmidt said, “(Bill's) contribution to Google – it is literally not possible to overstate. He essentially architected the organizational structure.” High praise, right? I think we can agree if the CEO of Google finds value in a coach, you will too.
It goes on and on from other high-powered execs, such as Steve Jobs, Jack Welch from GE, and Jonathan Schwartz from Sun Microsystems .
But what is the line between coach and consultant?
A consultant is more focused on the mechanics of your business – which marketing strategy will get you the best results, how to optimize your web presence, management systems. She will not only help you choose the best methods for your business, but potentially even do them for you, to help guide you along.
To put it plainly, “A business coach will help you understand how and why you ride a bicycle, help you to determine what's holding you back from riding properly, and jog along next to you as YOU ride. A business consultant will explain why one bike is superior to another, teach you how to ride the bike, and if necessary, ride the bike for you.”
So how do you know which is best for you?
The Best Cure
Do you know the most common problem Expertpreneurs™ face?
It's Attention Deficit Disorder. Not in the clinical sense, in all cases, though some do actually suffer from that. But generally speaking, they have too many ideas, and find it difficult to focus to make any of them a reality.
Now, this is something that a Business Coach can help a lot with. In fact, it's a big part of their mission statement.
But if you find you suffer from “idea ADD”, you struggle with implementing actionable plans, and are ultimately procrastinating to avoid these problems, you may be in need of a productivity or time management coach.
Simply put, a productivity coach helps you be more productive. They work with you to create systems for getting things done. Such as David Allen's “Getting Things Done (GTD)” program.
They work with you to define what your biggest challenges are, and slowly help you work to conquer them. Often, they will help you break your ideas down into small, manageable pieces, so you can actually take steps toward a greater goal.
This reduces the risk of getting overwhelmed or distracted, because everything is attainable.
You may remember, as I discussed productivity in my December blog series, a specialized coach would focus on these areas of your business and help you get the most out of your time. She would help you reach the goal of the “4 hour work day”.
In fact, a colleague of mine, who runs a very successful business, has a conversation with a productivity coach every month. He relies on her to help focus his thoughts, as he is constantly coming up with new ideas for his business.
If he neglects that phone call for even one month, his productivity and profits take a huge hit.
So, even as an Expertpreneur™ yourself (and you may very well coach within this field), it's important to have a “check in” with an outside professional to see if there are any improvements you can make. Chances are, they will find something that needs attention.
You Can't Go it Alone
In his very famous book “Think and Grow Rich”, Napoleon Hill discusses the power of the mastermind.
A mastermind is simply, “the coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.” That might sound a bit “woo-woo”, but the idea is basically two heads are better than one.
And if you read anything on business, you will see that most successful people in expert industries, no matter what their level, places value in this concept.
In fact, Dan Kennedy charges over $10,000 to meet a few weekends a year with 10 or so high-level business owners who want to keep growing. They apply for the privilege of spending that amount of money to attend these meetings.
This is not unusual.
However, if you are starting out, you don't need to go quite so far yet. What is most important for you is to regularly meet with like-minded people who are at your level (or, ideally, above your level), and bounce ideas off of each other.
They don't necessarily have to be in the same field as you. They just need to have similar goals.
The most ideal situation is business owners with complementary skill sets who aren't in competition with each other. You can share ideas, motivations, goals, etc… selflessly, without any concern. And you'll learn quite a bit from each other.
Reach out to people you know, professional organizations, or on the web (through meetup.com, Facebook, or LinkedIn for example), to find people willing to meet regularly with you. You can also make great connections at business conferences and events.
Once you've found a group, you can decide how often you'd like to meet. It could be once a week, bi-weekly, or even once a month.
Also, your mastermind meetings don't have to be in person – they can be Skype calls or even Google Hangouts.
Whatever you choose, you'll not only enjoy the wave of new ideas, but you'll start holding yourself accountable to the others in the group. You will want to succeed, so you can share your stories with them – and in return, your business will grow exponentially.
What's Best For You?
Sometimes deciding what you need can be the hardest part.
Getting into a mastermind group can really help you see what others are doing and how they are finding success. Once you have some ideas floating around, the next best step would be to work with a business coach – they'll help you sort through and flesh them out.
Beyond that, you can work with a consultant to get actionable plans you can implement to move forward in your business. This will focus on the “nitty-gritty” of it all.
Lastly, if you ever find yourself struggling with too many ideas or extreme procrastination, talk to a productivity coach. They will help you through it.
As you can see, there are coaches for any circumstance you may come across. And the best part? Sometimes one trusted person can perform multiple roles. I personally act as both a business coach and consultant, as well as offer a mastermind program for serious Expertpreneurs™.
Decide what is best for you right now, and don't hesitate to ask for help. It could be the biggest breakthrough for your business, yet.