4 keys to choosing the right mentor

How a mentor can help you navigate the career landscape.

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a two-part series on mentorship.

You’ve heard about the power of mentors, but honing in and landing the right one can be difficult. While some programs, like University at Buffalo’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, provide help in connecting mentors to mentees, they typically match people based on industry and skills.

Although there are tactical benefits to this approach, it overlooks what might be the most important factor in a mentoring relationship– the chemistry between mentor and mentee.

The best mentors:

1. Put the relationship first.

For real mentorship to succeed, there needs to be a baseline chemistry. Studies show that even the best-designed mentoring programs are no substitute for a genuine, interpersonal relationship between mentor and mentee.

Mentoring requires rapport. At best, it propels people to break from their formal roles and titles (boss versus employee) and find common ground as people.

Pat Whalen, director of Niagara Global Tourism Insititute, said “Chemistry is important, and it doesn’t happen with just anyone. What my mentors had in common was that they cared about me. They saw something in me others didn’t.”

When the relationship is the foundation, both parties will invest more in helping one another to be accountable and to make one another proud. All of which drastically improves the final outcome.

2. Focus on character rather than competency.

The best leaders go beyond competency and skills, focusing instead on helping to shape other people’s character, values, self-awareness, empathy, and capacity for respect. They know that, in the long run, these soft skills are the basis of leadership and lead to success, and that mastering others is strength, but mastering yourself is true power.

3. Are optimistic, but will challenge you.

Mentors should help you consider both why an idea might work as well as why it might not. They should challenge your way of thinking and ask you the hard questions, but then help you sort through different ways of attacking the challenge.

Matt Pelkey, partner at Colligan Law, shared this, “My best mentors have always pushed me outside my comfort zone. They challenged me to take risks in my career and to be the best version of myself.”

4. Seek first to understand, then to help.

The best mentors recognize that the best way to inspire others is to be fully and selflessly committed to the best interests of their colleagues and employees. They don’t seek only to uncover their mentees’ strengths; they also look for their underlying passions to help them find their calling.

At its highest level, mentorship is about being “good people” and having the right “good people” around us — individuals committed to helping us become fuller versions of who we are.

Mentors are teachers and leaders

Original post in Upstart NY

Michael Spence is a speaker, trainer, and business consultant focused on people, performance, and profits. He learned much of what he knows about business and technology by leading a young telecom sales organization to 400% growth and being listed on the Inc 500; everything else he picks up from interviews with business leaders and influencers. Sharing his lessons, Mike trains organizations on managing a multigenerational workforce, soft skills, and sales enablement.

Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your training needs and how we can help

 

Ten Insightful Quotes (and Great Leadership Lessons) From Seth Godin

Why bother searching through the usual list of famous quotes when one man, Seth Godin, shares plenty of insight on business, marketing, and leadership.

 

A Buffalo success story, Seth Godin is a renowned author, master marketer, and a thought leader. Seth’s family are Buffalonians vested in the community.  Seth’s heartfelt introductions from his sister, the Buffalo Jewish Federation, and the proud director of the Albright-Knox art museum made this event very personal. The Godin family was praised for their contributions, support, and endowment in memory of their mother.  As I l watched Seth from across the room, his smile and face eluded a true sense of gratefulness.

  • A sold-out event of 350 community leaders joined together
  • A small enough venue for direct eye contact and quality networking with anyone in the room
  • The slide deck paired with Seth’s artsy, practical and fresh perspective had an audience of all ages sitting attentively, engaging often, and laughing more than expected

If you are reading this, you are probably like me, a fan of Seth. I have read and applied teaching from many of his books, including: Permission Marketing, Tribe, Purple Cow, The Dip, Linchpin, and Small is the New Big.

My personal draw to Seth is his thought leadership and our shared passion for challenging the status quo.  In everything I do, I believe in challenging the status quo. I have failed more times than I care to admit. But I have felt gratification, and tasted the fruits of my labor when I execute a project against the odds. Boy does that feel good. It’s that feeling that keeps me coming back to entrepreneurship time and time again.

In my latest project, CollegeCPR, I challenge the education system and offer a better way for families and young professionals to approach career planning. At times I receive opposition, but most times my story resonates and receives burning support from those who recognize or have experienced the challenges faced by today’s college graduate.  Despite any challenges, CollegeCPR recognizes the problem is real and we are committed to impacting change. The below excerpts from Seth’s book, “What to do when it’s your turn” apply to our approach.

“THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE SUCKERS.” 

“Many powerful organizations fear a truth teller. They work hard to avoid being confronted by an individual who sees the world as it is and by a person who cares enough to change things.”

While developing CollegeCPR, I became a student of social media and digital marketing in order to grow my business. I looked to experts like Seth as a teacher, studying his work. Since that time, I have developed a team that is constantly running tests and tweaking strategy based on customer feedback.  Our recent focus is the science of marketing – social psychology and why do people take action. One key to creating content that converts is audience engagement.  Our strategy is founded from advice of Kevin Kelly and Tim Ferris when they talk about 1000 True Fans.

Below are 10 of our favorite quotes from Seth on Business, PR and Marketing, Fear, Coaching, and Presenting.

Business

“Selling to people who actually want to hear from you is more effective than interrupting strangers who don’t.”

“There’s no shortage of remarkable ideas, what’s missing is the will to execute them.”

“Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.”

 

PR and Marketing

“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.”

“In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” 

Seth Godin 

 

 

 

 

Fear

 “If failure is not an option, then neither is success.”

“The best the timid can hope for is to be unnoticed. Criticism comes to those who stand out.”

Coaching

“The problem with working with a coach isn’t that we don’t know what to do. The real problem is that we don’t want to change our mind.”

Presenting

“You can spend your time on stage pleasing the heckler in the back, or you can devote it to the audience that came to hear you perform.”

KEYNOTE AUDIENCE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bonus Quote from Stop Stealing Dreams #manifesto

“The good jobs of the future aren’t going to involve working for giant companies on an assembly line. They all require individuals willing to chart their own path, whether or not they work for someone else.”

“Large scale education was not developed to motivate kids or to create scholars. It was invented to churn out adults who worked well within the system.”

 

Learn to incorporate these quotes into your thought process and you will unleash your true potential beyond what you thought was possible.

What is your favorite Seth quote? 

 

Do you want to learn the career activities that your college and university don’t want you to know.

Do you want to learn the skills that employers wish they taught you in college?

 

To engage with Mike Spence:coaching performance results. Who is Mike Spence?

Follow Mike on LinkedIn

Find CollegeCPR on Facebook

Email: mspence@collegecpr.com

 

 

 

One Way to Double Your Business?

The one way you can double your business is by giving back and showing you want to help.  Live life and promote your business with a purpose. Good people who work hard get recognized.

Giving back can be simple but powerful. This is admirable and valuable on so many levels!

barber gives free haircuts

For a moment, think about the image above.  For a barber to be successful, they need to serve many generations of males in the local community. Grandfathers, fathers, sons, brothers, cousins, parents.  The barbers gesture shows he cares about the families in the community. Cares about the kids, the importance of education, and being a good role model in the community.

How quick can you double your business? That depends on a lot of things, but the tips below will get you started.

  1. Engage with your users (customers or prospects)
  2. Get involved in the community
  3. Invest your time helping others
  4. Volunteer – it’s the most rewarding service.
  5. Develop raving fans – this is the best form of marketing and will cost you nothing but time

In doing so, you will help others and earn raving fans. A raving fans is a dedicated and loyal customer who is happy to send business your way. This is the most effective form of marketing, it is also the cheapest!

care first, success will follow

Please comment below and share your experience giving back to the community you serve.