One of the biggest life lessons I’ve learned from my 10 plus years in business is that everyone is different. Everyone has different needs, communication styles and personality traits that set them apart. This also means that we need to find processes that specifically work for us.
If you’ve been looking for a mentor, it’s important to know your options so you can find a relationship that works for you. Here are three types of mentorship relationships:
1. Formal Peer Mentoring Groups
If you’ve ever felt isolated during your entrepreneurial journey, a peer mentoring group could be your ticket to feeling more supported. A typical peer mentoring group involves between six and twelve participants and a mentor facilitator. The groups meet for six, two-hour sessions to talk about business challenges.
According to Dawn McCooey, Skills Development Manager at Women's Enterprise Centre, “Peer group mentees bring diverse solutions to a business challenge which can lead to amazing opportunities for learning and growth. Being part of a peer group is a great way to build new skills and the confidence to succeed.” Professional organizations such as Women’s Enterprise Centre also offer the added benefit of creating a private environment by asking each participant to sign a confidentiality and conflict of interest agreement.
The advantage of peer mentorship is that you’re getting advice from a variety of different entrepreneurs instead of one person compared to a one-on-one mentorship. It also helps you increase your network for potential business partnerships and client referrals. However group mentoring may not be for you if you would prefer to speak one-on-one with a mentor and prefer more personalized attention.
2. Formal One-On-One Mentorships
Formal one-on-one mentorships are great for entrepreneurs who want mentorships that are structured, private, short and paid. During a typical, formal one-on-one mentorship, you and your mentor will discuss your business challenges and make goals to conquer them. Each week you will meet to go over the actions you have previously taken and the next steps to take.
Formal mentorships are only provided by professional organizations that screen their mentors. There’s no need to worry about privacy. The organizations ask all mentors to sign confidentiality and conflict of interest agreements rules keeping your information safe.
If you want quick results in a short period of time, you will appreciate that formal mentorships typically run for six months with weekly one-hour meetings allowing you to fast track your way to success. However if you don’t have time to commit to your weekly goals from your mentor or are unable to commit to weekly meetings, a formal one-on-one mentorship may not be for you.
3. Informal One-On-One Mentorships
The majority of mentorship relationships that take place are informal. If you are a looking for a free mentorship relationship that is long lasting with someone you know, this could be the perfect mentorship relationship for you. You can find an informal one-on-one mentorship relationship by asking a person you admire and can learn from to be your mentor. This could be a teacher, family friend, relative or previous manager.
The benefit of this relationship is that you have more control compared to a formal one-on-one mentorship. You can choose your mentor, control the length of your relationship and decide what you want to do in your session. However on the downside, you don’t have the protection of privacy agreements and if you find it difficult to commit to tasks, the lack of structure may mean you don’t follow through with your goals. It may also be difficult to find a mentor organically compared to finding one from a professional organization.
No matter what type of mentorship you are looking for, there is one to fit your needs. For more information visit mentorshipbc.ca for 50+ mentorship programs in BC.