When I was a young man of 23, my business partner and best mate Jamie and I used to stop off on a Friday night and have a beer in a pub called the Queens Head and as we were enjoying our pint a young ex public school boy used to drop in and have a drink with us.
Chris worked in the City as a financial analyst and he would say to us, “I’ve got a great tip, if you invest just £200 (That was a lot of money in the 80’s) in this share or that bit of stock, it will make you rich!” Now, Jamie and I being working class type men were a bit sceptical of get rich quick schemes, however plausible they might seem and to add to that we were already well on our way to having a few quid!
We didn’t invest! What we did do was check young Chris out and found that he lived in a rented one bed flat in a very poor area and was in debt up to his eyebrows. So the question we did have for Chris the next time he came in the pub and sat down with us was “Why if these stocks and shares are so good why are you skint?” Chris didn’t practice what he preached!
Needless to say we didn’t see Chris for a very long time.
One of my key learning points in life is to surround yourself with people that are smarter than you. The delegates that come on my Millionaire Mind-set course or MAD group will know that I recommend everyone getting a coach/mentor in their life and business. The main reason for this is that we can’t fix a problem with the same level of thinking that created the problem in the first place and as creatures of habit we tend to look for solutions in the same place as we always have.
A lot of small business owners look around at successful business owners and think that they did it all by themselves. Let me tell you this, there are very few successful business people that have done it totally on their own. Every one of them has had some help somewhere; they will have made sure that the people in their lives and business are of the highest quality. I have a mentor and part of her role with me is to keep me focused and accountable.
Every entrepreneur needs a coach/mentor, because the fastest way to learn any business is to study someone who has been successful at it. This person has already paid the price of experience. You must absorb all of the information that you can out of him or her and take action! Does the coach/Mentor that you are considering run successful training courses?
Over the years, I’ve met many people who desperately want to be successful but who are ultimately unwilling to invest in themselves. They think, “I can teach myself. I can learn this on my own.” I’m always gobsmacked by this attitude. If I can avoid making a few mistakes by being mentored by someone that has already been there and done it, then I’m going to.
If a business owner won’t invest in themselves how do they expect other people to invest in them? They are happy to go out on a Friday and Saturday night and pour fifty quid’s worth of alcohol down their neck but won’t pour fifty quid into their head. If only they realised that by pouring the money into their head they could pour as much as they like down their neck in the future!
The wiser people will often come to me and ask me to work with them and others that I meet at network meetings or other business events ask me if I could recommend them to a great coach/mentor, which I do. However, it goes without saying that some coaches/mentors are better than others. There are so many people these days offering their services to entrepreneurs online. Before you jump into a new relationship, take some time to get to know a potential coach/mentor.
I have some basic rules that I use when recommending other coaches/mentors and which, I believe are six great tips before you choose a coach/mentor to take you and your business forward.
So here you go six tips for choosing a business coach/mentor;
- Congruency – The number-one thing to look for on someone’s resume is his or her experience.
- What exactly have they accomplished? Is it the same as you want to accomplish? Your coach/mentor must have walked the walk. I feel strongly about this.
- Find someone that has truly paid their dues and can speak of their real-life experiences. Ideally, this person will have failed and succeeded. Their insight will help you avoid making costly mistakes and increase your chance of success immensely.
- Does the coach/mentor you are about to choose have a track record of building successful businesses?
- Is the coach/mentor’s current business successful? If not why not? I see a lot of business coaches/mentors out there telling other people how to run their business and make more money and they are skint themselves.
- Make sure the coach/mentor you choose practices what they preach, and actually walk their talk!
- Recommendations – Have they got a string of recommendations from real customers?
- The chances are if you are picking a great coach/mentor they will have a portfolio of testimonials from satisfied clients.
- Have they got social proof?
- Have a look at their Linkedin profile and their recommendations. If they haven’t got any, why not?
- What is being said on Facebook or Twitter?
- Have a look at some of their YouTube videos.
- Honesty – Will they tell you how it is or will they tell you what you want to hear?
- If you are looking for someone to tell you what you already know, ask yourself is having a YES man doing you any good? You have to want to be challenged!
- The mentor needs to be honest with you and you need to be honest with yourself.
- Ask them if they have failed with their past business ventures? If they say no, I would suggest that they are less than honest.
- Most successful business owners have failed and more importantly they have learned from the experience and then moved on to business success.
- Attitude – I have met some business coaches/mentors that are very negative and spend most of their time finding what’s wrong with life rather than what they could do to get a better result. In my experience, having a great attitude comes with time and experience. The right coach/mentor will have been through it all – and come out the other side knowing a sense of humour goes a long way in business.
- They are able to see the big picture.
- They don’t get too upset or emotional.
- An ideal coach/mentor is very patient, but also persistent and determined.
- Positive energy is very important in any relationship and if your mentor has a negative attitude it will drag you down with them.
- Make sure that they have a positive outlook on everything and look to find a way to make things happen rather than find reasons why they won’t.
- KPI – Are they a Key Person of Influence?
- Does your potential coach/mentor regularly give talks?
- Has he or she written a book?
- Do reporters interview him or her?
- A great coach/mentor will have longstanding relationships with people who could benefit you. Ask him or her if they’re willing to open doors for you.
- Sometimes, it is about who you know rather than just what you know.
- If this person offers a long list of services, exercise caution. It’s impossible to be everything to everyone, and nor is it desirable.
- Accountability – A great coach/mentor will not simply let you disappear.
- They will hold you accountable. It’s a lonely place owning a business and in a lot of cases you are not accountable to anyone.
- Yes, things get in the way. But he or she cares about how you’re doing.
- If you’re lucky enough to find a coach/mentor that you gel with, as I have, you will make a great friend for life.
- They will enjoy sharing in your success and feeling like they were part of it.
Remember Jim Rohn’s quote “You will become the average of the five people you spend most of your time with!” So surround yourself with people that you aspire to be like and who fill you with positive energy!
Finally I was driving on the motorway to give a talk to a group of business owners when I passed a van and the sign writing said “Don’t drive around with that dent in your car, or that scratch along the door. Let us fix it for you!” Yes you guessed it; in the front wing was a bloody great dent! And to cap it off, guess who was driving the van….. Chris!
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“Don’t ask for financial advice from skint people, don’t ask business advice from people that haven’t had a successful business and make sure you have your dents and scratches sorted by someone that looks after their own vehicle!” 🙂
Thank you Al Frank Monk for a brilliant photo shoot!
Ash is the “FlipFlopPsycho!”