“Mentoring, paying it forward, and giving back to the community are all important things for us.”
– Neal Schaffer
Mentorship is a much-needed resource in the business world, especially in the realms of sales and social selling. If you want to create more mentoring experiences for others you need to scale your mentoring efforts. You need to move beyond one-on-one mentoring sessions and learn new ways to engage with mentees or potential mentees.
I recently spoke with Neal Schaffer (social selling author, educator, and consultant) about what he calls “the new reality of mentoring;” people are moving away from only doing one-on-one mentoring. A lot of people ask to be mentored. A lot of people want to be mentors. Time is the only resource that everyone in the world has the same amount of; at the end of the day we only have so much time to get everything done and we need to use that time wisely.
Neal and I discuss how to leverage certain strategies to scale your outreach in our video interview below:
There are a lot of ways to mentor and a lot of ways to learn. Here are a few ways to do each successfully by leveraging certain strategies to make the most of your time.
How Can Mentees Make the Most Of Mentoring Experiences?
When you’re fortunate enough to get a meeting with a mentor you need to make the most of that time if you want to have a productive session. You might only have 15-30 minutes with a mentor so you need to be prepared. Here are some things you can do to create more successful mentorship experiences:
- Do your research. Understand the mentor’s experiences. Plug them into your Nimble dashboard and learn as much about them as you can BEFORE you meet. This will allow you to have more time during the conversation spent learning instead of spending that time getting to know about your mentor.
- Define your objectives for being mentored. What are you trying to learn? Why are you asking to be mentored?
- Know how you think that person can help you and ask your questions accordingly.
- Be prepared with questions ahead of time. That person has limited time and you might not get through all of your questions; ask the most important ones first.
- Be grateful! Thank them and add a small gesture such as buying them a cup of coffee or an Amazon gift card.
- Keep in touch after your conversation. Send them a LinkedIn request and engage with their content on social media and wherever they post articles. That will help to create more lasting relationships and those relationships are the most valuable kind to have.
How Can Mentors Create More Mentoring Experiences?
While you may want to be a mentor to more people you will probably run into the challenge of finding the time to do it. People searching for mentorship experiences want to information and to be educated. Sometimes they may want access to your network. The question becomes “How can I offer more information, scale education and offer connections to more people without adding more hours to my day?” Here are some ways to accomplish that:
- You can, of course, mentor 1-on-1 with people. As you get busier with your career this is a less viable way of sharing your genius, we only have so much time in our days.
- Instead of 1-on-1 you can scale your mentoring efforts by writing blog posts that answer the most common questions that people ask you. That way when people come to you for advice you can send them a link to your blog post(s).
- Contact local colleges, nonprofits and networking groups and offer to speak to them.
- As you speak at more events you can invite people to hear you speak.
- If you love to write you can publish a book and direct people to that.
- Start a Facebook business page or LinkedIn group. Neal has a Facebook group, Social Media Center of Excellence, where he and his community ask and answer each other’s questions.
The Value of Mentorship For Mentors
When you mentor someone you learn a LOT about yourself and your life experiences. As you explain what you know to others you find new ways of explaining your subject matter expertise. That has resulted in new blog posts and speaking content for Neal and can help you in those areas also.
Networking is a two-way street and you never know who the other person knows. They might be able to connect you to CEOs and other influencers and decision makers that can help you build your business. “One never knows” is the golden rule of networking. Never assume that you’re only helping the other person with no opportunity of receiving something in return. Helping other people has a lot of ROI opportunity and you need to keep that in mind while you’re mentoring and networking.
If you were smarter instead of harder when it comes to mentorship you will create more successful mentoring experiences for yourself and others. One last tip for creating more mentoring experiences: If you are missing a piece to your professional puzzle mentoring can help fill that need faster than trying to do it on your own. Reach out to people on LinkedIn that you have a lot of mutual connections with, that way it’s easier to get a personal introduction to them. Then buy them lunch or coffee or dinner or a drink. Make that part of your daily or weekly routine, or at least monthly.
And remember, it always pays to pay it forward when you can.
“Pay it forward, and you’re going to reap dividends over time.”
– Neal Schaffer