Thursday, 14 April 2011

Lessons I’ve Learnt 16 - Mentors

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve explored the concepts of Muse and Role Model. Most Creatives can say that at some stage they have had both a Muse and a Role Model. Often the Muse or Role Model have absolutely no idea what impact they are having on your life. Today we will finish this series by exploring the concept/term of Mentor.

Mentoring is not new, in fact it has been around since the Ancient Greeks, there was actually somebody called Mentor. Mentoring is about one person helping another to achieve something important to them.It is a personal development relationship where the the experienced person guides the less experienced.

Mentoring can fall under 2 categories; informal and formal. Both can be beneficial.Informal mentoring develops on its own without either party seeking their role. In this situation it is very easy for the Mentor to to try to duplicate their own skills and values in the Protégé.

A Formal Mentoring Relationship is more structured with agreed goals, timeframes and review periods. Many Creatives feel uncomfortable with structure believing their artistic flair will be stifled. But what if your are not seeking a mentoring relationship for your art practice? What if it was to develop and grow your business? These are all things that will help you achieve your dreams.

A good Mentor will:

  • Guide
  • Encourage
  • Problem solve
  • Respect confidentiality
  • Not tell you what to do
  • Not do for you
  • Respect your values
  • Understand the concept of Sow & Reap
  • Challenge

Challenge? But I thought this was all touchy feely? No. Are you seeking a Mentor to validate what you are already doing? If so save your money. You’ve heard the quote,”keep doing what you’ve always done and you will keep getting what you’ve always got.” You want your Mentor to challenge your thoughts and actions. This will help clarify your goals. 

Many people seek out a Mentor in the same field that they are in. Not a bad point to start. Here is a Lesson I Learnt. I found that too often unpaid Mentors in the same field were only willing to assist to a point. They were often conscious of protecting their patch. To overcome this dilemma either be prepared to pay somebody to mentor you or go outside of your field.

I have done both. When paying for the relationship I looked for a Mentor who understood the concept of Reap and Sow. Personally I found that Mentors outside of my field have been the most beneficial. They had absolutely no idea about art or craft but they all knew how to be successful in business. With their guidance I have been able to move away from duplicating exactly what everybody else has done, carving out my own path. In fact now others are duplicating me.Time for a new Mentor.

This brings me to my last point. It is unlikely that the Mentor you choose today will still be your Mentor in 2 years time. Times and your life change. A good Mentor should identify when it is time for you to move on.Most people choose to have a Mentor to move themselves out of a rut. Be careful you don’t develop a mentoring rut.


Leanne said...

This is a great post Trish. Thanks so much for sharing.

Mel said...

I love reading these posts. So refreshing to read your experiences rather than being told this is the only way like so many others.

Trish Goodfield said...

Thanks Mel & Leanne. My way is not the only way. I hope by sharing my experiences others may avoid some drama.

Kellie said...

your comment about mentors outside of the field got me thinking. Great insight.Thanks.

Bev said...

Nice to read business stuff from somebody who has been successful in lots of craft selling arenas over many years. Getting a litle jaded reading stuff from people who have only ever sold online.

Sue said...

I could spend hours reading through your blog. How come I've never found it before. So Interesting.