Saturday, 24 May 2014

How a mentor can help your business

This late spring / early summer is one of my favourite times of year – as it gets warmer, greenery starts bursting out everywhere and the air is filled with energy. I’ve been tapping into this energy, attending a number of work-related workshops and social events with ITI’s German Network and East Midlands Regional Network – from transcreation (translating promotional and marketing copy) to Twitter, we’ve covered it all!

How a mentor can help your business

Another thing that’s been keeping me busy over the past month is the work I’ve been doing on my business with my current business mentor, Jez Allman of What and How. As I’ve mentioned in other blog posts, I worked with a coach (the lovely Corrina Gordon-Barnes) while setting up my business and through my first year of self-employment, and now decided I needed the input of another professional to keep my business moving forward. 

Often when I mention I’m working with a business coach, I get reactions like “Isn’t that a really expensive luxury? Can it really be worth it?” or “Oh, I’d love to do that, but I can’t afford it.” However, personally I believe that working with professional business coaches has greatly benefited my business and that the input and support I’ve received has paid for itself – probably many times over – in additional business gained. This is why I was really happy to pay for coaching even at a time when my business was not generating much income. 

So here are, to my mind, the main benefits of working with a coach:

  • Running a business can be quite scary, especially if you’re comparatively new to it. A coach or business mentor provides you with the support you need to move through that fear and come out the other side.
  • You are paying someone to listen to those worries and fears – and dreams! – and offer helpful, qualified advice. This means you don’t feel the need to vent at family and friends, who may not understand what you are going through. Nor do you need to feel embarrassed telling your coach – after all, they’re being paid to provide you with this service.
  • A coach helps you develop longer-term targets and plans, so you don’t get bogged down in the day-to-day running of your business (this is my particular problem!). Even better, they will hold you accountable for the tasks and goals you have set!
  •  A coach can help you to “dream big”. Coaching sessions provide you with a space in which to develop new ideas and encourage you to aim for your wildest dreams rather than small things you can definitely achieve but won’t gain much satisfaction (or money) from.
  • As business owners, we are so involved in our business that we often can’t see the wood for the trees. A business coach can give you a fresh, outside perspective on your business, and they possess the experience to recognise what can work and what can’t, saving you time and money lost in making mistakes.

If you don’t want to work one-to-one with a coach, there are other ways of getting similar input – for example, you might want to form a Mastermind group with some of your peers (I did this when I was starting out on my self-employment journey). Some coaches actually run online “circles” or “academies” (I particularly like the unabashedly hippie but extremely business-savvy Leonie Dawson). 

Here’s to all of us finding the support we need!

Any stories to share about coaching, mentoring or helpful support? Do leave a comment below!

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