I’ve been working with mentors all my life, in lots of different areas of my business and in my personal life. But I wanted to talk a little bit about what a good mentorship looks like and who would make a good mentor. Depending on what you want to do, you can use mentors to help you to do something that you’ve never done before. I also see mentorship different than coaching, so we’ll discuss some of the differences as well as the similarities between the two.
First – if you think about mentorship, I want you to think about what would be a good quality of somebody who was a mentor and if you’re looking for help in a particular area. For example, in business or real estate, you want somebody who has had at least ten years of experience in that area preferably gone through downturn in the economy. That way they’ve gone through a full cycle of what it means to be in that business in all different economic situations.
Second – you want to find somebody who has already done what you want to do .That means, if you are looking for somebody who has left their six figure income in order to run their own business, then it’s easier to do, if you find a mentor who is already done something like that. It helps make it easier for you to make that leap yourself.
Third – make sure that the mentor enjoys what they’re doing. If they don’t enjoy it, why would you want to do the same thing that they’re doing? You want to have that same enjoyment level and see that they’re enjoying what they’re doing.
Fourth – look for a mentor that is respected by other colleagues, particularly in the business space that they’re already in. That way you know that peers respect that person for what they’ve done and continue to do so.
Fifth – You want to have a mentor that sets and meets their goals so if you see a mentor that is stagnant it could mean that they’ve achieved their goals but it also means that they’re you know in a different place and if you find a mentor who is setting new goals and meeting new goals whether they be business or personal it helps you to see that they’re still growth happening and that’s something that I value in a mentor.
Sixth – you want a mentor that does not immediately shut down the opinion of others but values those other opinions. Somebody who has an open mind and doesn’t drink the kool-aid that everybody else is drinking in the same industry is an important skill that a mentor should have.
Seventh – Make sure that the mentor sets a good example. It’s great to have mentors that have succeeded in what they have done but not at the cost of their health, family, or their integrity.
You want to work with mentors that that set a good example and mentorship doesn’t necessarily have to come from a person you talk to. Some of my earliest mentors, came from books that I read. There are two two in particular that stood out Robert Kiyosaki “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” and the second would be Don Campbell’s book :Real Estate Investing in Canada.”
Both those authors really affected the trajectory of how and why I was doing things and helped to mentor me in a different direction. So books can help to mentor you.
I also think that podcasts can do something very similar.
But at some point you need to move away from audio and paper and look to real people. So when you come across somebody that you think would be a good mentor, you need to be an asset to them. Usually they are busy and don’t have the time to mentor other people. If you can offer them something in order to help them in some way you can create a win/win relationship. Remember that if you’re finding somebody who’s already successful at what they’re doing, there must be something that you can do perhaps it’s to help them with a particular skill that you have, perhaps it’s even good conversation. It will depend on the person.
Another way to do it is to pay them for their time and that changes I think from mentoring into coaching. If you are successful at what you are doing, coaching often takes you away from your highest and best use which is building your business. It is a real challenge to find coaches, who are also still active in growing their own businesses. A coaching relationship should be a little more structured but also can be more helpful, so there there’s definitely something to be said about going down the route of coaching. I’ve had different coaches throughout my life.
You can find mentors and coaches through different sorts of organizations. For example, we host monthly DurhamREI meetings in the Durham region. When you are able to find other people who are investing in similar assets and in similar areas, it makes it easier to create those relationships and develop mentorships.
I’ve participated and joined different sorts of groups and organizations, while running my real estate investment business – most recently the Entrepreneur Organization, Tiger 21 and Strategic Coach. What I really liked about these organizations is that there was some sort of hurdle to joining. Through these organizations, I have been able to connect with other people in my industry, that have really helped to supercharge my business and invested in myself. If you are just getting I suggest joining different local networking groups that can help you to meet new people.
Back in 2008, when I started DurhamREI there were not many Real Estate Education groups around. Now networking and education groups are available everywhere. When you attend these groups look for mentors that they have the experience and the depth that you are looking for in a mentorship.
And there are really three things that you need to think about when it comes to participating in some sort of mentorship.
These three things really appeal to someone, who is willing to mentor others, so keep that in mind now.
Quentin D’Souza is the Chief Education Officer of the Durham Real Estate Investor Club. Author of The Property Management Toolbox: A How-To Guide for Ontario Real Estate Investors and Landlords and The Ultimate Wealth Strategy: Your Complete Guide to Buying, Fixing, Refinancing, and Renting Real Estate.