It can be tough to find business mentors that add value.

You want to like your mentor and become mates.  He/She needs to see your point of view.  Right?
No! Wrong!

Mentors and coaches present themselves throughout your life journey. You might not even realise it at times.  You are a product of the experiences and people that you learn from.  Those experiences can be challenging, rewarding, uplifting, depressing, educational, terrifying, or pure joy.  Whatever they are, they made you.  Did you learn from them?  Did you take away ideas to fill your tool box of life?

As a tenured member of Entrepreneur’s Organisation Queensland, and owner of multiple businesses, I’ve had my share of experiences with coaches and alongside mentors of varying calibers.

Here are my thoughts based on my experiences:

The terms “coach” and “mentor” are interchangeable for the sake of this article.  However, the two words can have distinct differences.  Think of a football coach who drills and drives an athlete to reach performance goals – usually with a set time frame and frequent sessions.  Now think of an industry leader who connects and offers guidance and support to a business owner so he can develop a mindset of personal growth over a period of time and relationship building – this is a mentor.

In my experience, entrepreneurship is also a mindset.  It is a mindset that is an attribute of the best business coaches. I avoid coaches that only think like an accountant –  even though numbers are the litmus test of successful business.  A business coach needs to have diverse experience, know how it feels to have vision, aspirations and the dimensions of success and failure.

A good business coach will delve deeply into your numbers and challenge why they are so.  During this process, He/She will unearth intriguing traits about your accountant and bookkeeper and the actual integrity of your numbers.  So much so that you may decide to change accountants or bookkeepers.

A coach that only takes the P&L and Balance Sheet at face value is placing a lot of faith in those 2 reports that may be full of errors and not a true reflection of business performance. If you are doing the bookkeeping yourself, you may be giving your coach a financial story that isn’t true.  I’ve seen business coaches give outstanding advice.  Then after we were contracted to clean the client’s Xero accounting file, the advice was not in line with the needs of the business.

Entrepreneurs (you) are calculated risk takers and ideas shakers – a mentor needs to understand and harness that with you.

Look for synergy that will develop trust, yet give you enough agitation in the relationship that you will become uncomfortable with the current status, yet coached to be hungry to change.

Change and learning must come from you – not the mentor – carry your own bags.

A coach must know the business drivers of people, strategy, cash, execution and how that impacts your business.

Mentoring is an art – look for a mentor that has experiences to share – life isn’t a text book. And neither is a business.  But reading books will expand your tool box exponentially.

Coaches, Mentors, books, seminars, study, industry groups, networking = learning. Get it any way you can.

Choose your business mentor or coach wisely.  You don’t have to like your coach / mentor, but you do have to learn from them.

Christine Green
Phone 1300 043 327 to discuss this article in more detail.  Or if your Xero file needs an audit for your business coach.

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