So, may you ask, what is the link with Business Mentoring?
Quite simple, I will answer : without considering that any startup manager, without a Business Mentor, will necessarily experience this catastrophic scenario (which I deliberately exagerated), the fact of being supported throughout the life of his company, and in particular during all these critical phases and capes to pass, will most certainly allow him :
- to avoid the pitfalls mentioned in the previous article
- to learn to take the necessary distance to move from the role of entrepreneur/startupper to the one of company manager (and I can assure you that the « costume » is radically different!)
- to keep your feet on the ground by agreeing to share with your Business Mentor, both the phases of success and the most difficult ones, humility being probably one of the fundamental qualities of a good leader.
- to "co-construct" the development of your company by relying on a "sparing partner" able of challenging it, always with kindness and without interference.
- to benefit from someone who has already made this « journey », who can share his experience, without ever being peremptory about the choices to be made (it is in no way a transitional management role for example or that of an expert consultant in his field)
So when and how to choose your Business Mentor?
The "when" is easy enough to decide :
- As soon as possible, even if it is in homeopathic doses at the beginning (creating a relationship of trust takes time...)
- Each time a situation or decision "puts" the risk back into the manager's office. A good mentor will be able to adapt his/ her tempo to that of the leader he /she is mentoring.
As for the « how », as you have anticipated, we are first and foremost in a human relationship between two people. For the most curious, the principle of mentoring is not new, I invite you to reread Ulysses!
This relationship between two people, based first and foremost on trust, requires accepting to share a lot and in both directions, to mutually enrich each other with the respective experiences of the Mentor and the Mentee.
Without this trust and sharing (in complete confidentiality), no mentoring is possible. Mentoring is not something you proclaim, it's something you build!
As a corollary to the above, the two people involved in a mentoring relationship must be able, if necessary, to tell each other clearly, both good and difficult things, and to draw conclusions from them in a dispassionate debate (easier to write than to live, believe me!)
You don't need to be a technical expert in a particular field to become a Business Mentor, the best expert in his/her profession is very often the manager him(her)self.
On the other hand, the mastery of a recognized, ethical and certified methodology (e.g. Mentorcert) combined with strong qualities of sharing, listening, empathy and humility are absolutely essential in this area.
Then, the Business Mentor's experience in enterprise, reinforces and legitimizes his/her position with regard to ihis/her client company manager. They have the same landmarks and speak the same language!
They will be able to understand each other when it comes to thinking about a development perspective, defining a value-adding strategy that is consistent with the environment and the operational plan for building a foundation that is essential for controlled growth and the risks identified and managed.
The Business Mentor who will be able to support you, will have at heart, and the ability to ensure, that he/she understands, your own (personal) motivations to help you reconcile them with the capacities and potential of your company.
This notion of coherence of vision and systemic approach is at least as important as the level of trust to be created at the beginning of the mission.
Of course, a technical expert, in any field, can be a good mentor, if he or she has the personality, but this is not systematic. You have to want it, feel capable of it and accept to be trained in this new profession, which is now recognised by the 27 EU countries.
In synthesis, through his/her networks (and those of ADINVEST France), the certified Business Mentor must be able to mobilize and animate the right skills and resources around the business owner, at the right time, for the right reasons, in order to obtain the expected or defined goals with the manager.
Finally, and in order to support my purpose, I will compile in a 3rd episode, some arguments and key figures of this "startup" ecosystem » and the Business Mentoring support brought to the manager.
See you next week!
In the meantime, ask yourself the simple question of who has been a Mentor for you and in what context?