Entrepreneurial guru Justin Cobb has spent his career learning what factors are most important when considering whether your ideal mentor is the right fit for you or not. Justin Cobb strongly admits that these factors are most important to look out for his line of business.
The mentor must be a good listener
“Mentors are responsible for driving your journey through to success. They shouldn’t spoon-feed answers to you even if they are correct. Instead, they need to help their mentees overcome challenges without taking the direct control. This comes back around to the most basic form of coaching; empathy and communication skills – in the form of listening” explains Justin Cobb. This person should help you to develop your own answers with insights rather than just their own strong opinions. ”A mentor who does all of the talking and objects to your ideas regularly is a poor bet” he advices.
Inevitably, you should find someone who knows when to give you a reality check, who can tell you to go for it when the time is right and who helps you to reflect on the most important lessons – even if it means the occasional setback. Your mentor needs to give you the freedom to mess up on your own and learn from your mistakes, but will also pick you back up when you’re about to topple over the barrel. And this mentor-to-be can’t do any of that without practiced listening skills.
Does this person challenge you?
Justin Cobb understands that any competitive industry you need to embrace challenge and competition, your mentor should make you challenge yourself and break out of your comfort zone. “You won’t learn anything new if your mentor doesn’t get you to consider new perspectives. You should choose someone who shares similar experiences with you – whether those are approaches they took in a certain situation or the challenges they have overcame in the past” he explains.
Justin understands that it is important that anybody seeking out a mentor, should understand the difference between someone who deliberately teaches their mentees by challenging them to push them to succeed, instead of holding back their ideas routinely. Choosing the wrong mentor can set back your career instead of fast-tracking it. Be strategic about what you need to learn, make sure your styles complement each other, and bring something to the table in exchange for teaching you to learn from failure. Choosing the right mentor can be the most important career decision you’ll ever make.