As business mentoring continues to grow in popularity, the number of professional mentors in the UK is increasing too. The Business Growth Hub’s mentoring advisor Andy Hall, who himself has worked with over 100 individuals and business owners, spoke to some of the Hub’s network of mentors to find about why they do it.
A mentoring culture
Whether starting out in business or looking to develop as a leader, more and more savvy businesses value an outside perspective to help them develop.
At the Hub, we have developed a large network of professional mentors, across diverse organisations, which we connect with entrepreneurs to develop themselves and their businesses. Developing a mentoring culture is crucial to business growth. Mentoring provides entrepreneurs with unique insight and expertise from mentors who’ve ‘been there, done that’. Yet when we make the introductions, pairing up businesses with mentors, we’re often asked ‘what’s the catch’? Why would such skilled, experienced professionals give their time for no financial reward?
It’s a question I posed to some of the mentors and it soon became clear that unlike professional coaching or consultancy, voluntary mentoring is done for more altruistic reasons, although at the same time it’s a two-way process, which brings benefits to mentors as well.
Giving something back
This is perhaps the most common reason for becoming a mentor.
“I believe it’s important to give back – after all, people took the time to mentor me,” says Andrew Ramwell, director of business consultants Know+Do. “A core value of my business is ‘sharing’ and mentoring allows me to express this; it challenges me in different ways and I like being helpful.”
Then, of course, there’s the opportunity to pass on experience and knowledge, too.
“I enjoy listening to what business owners want to achieve and what challenges they feel they face,” explains Alan Lewis, head of employment at law firm Irwin Mitchell and Business Growth Hub mentor. “Then I work with them to help them move faster towards their goals by sharing my knowledge and experience.”
Chris Marsh, director at UKFast, enjoys the opportunity to make a difference. “I get a real sense of achievement giving people a different perspective on things, reassuring them that they can be ambitious and introduce them to new ways of working so that they can achieve success.”
Making a difference
“I like to make a difference to the person as well as the company,” says Jennifer Lambden, a consultant, coach and mentor at Credit Management Consultants UK. “I know how difficult it is starting a business and if I can help them in any way to make the journey easier I will, whether it’s perfecting their pitch, identifying their client base or practising selling.
“Watching mentees grow personally and professionally is incredibly rewarding - I enjoy helping them to unlock something that may be blocked.”
For David Rainford, centre manager at Higher Folds Community Centre and chairman of Resolutions Meditation “Every mentoring session is a great chance to give something back and learn something new. Every mentee is different and they will bring the best out of your knowledge and skills.”
Mentoring - a two-way process
But as Chris explains, “Mentors don’t see it as all one-way traffic”, and as the American humourist, Bill Nye, once quipped: “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t,” sentiments which seem to sum up mentoring perfectly.
“It's reciprocal,” says Jennifer. “I learn something new at every session that will help me grow, too.”
Naomi Timperley, a digital, start-up consultant & director of Coo Digital Tech North Advocates agrees. “I’ve learnt something from every one of my mentees. They’ve helped me grow professionally and as a person too, and that’s why I love mentoring!”
“I get the satisfaction that I can make a difference by giving insights into particular issues that a mentee may be facing,” says Alan, “but then I get the benefit of sharpening my listening and communication skills in a real-life business context.”
“I’m a firm believer in spending your time doing the things which make you happy,” continues Chris, “and I get a lot of enjoyment both from helping people and learning from them, and mentoring is a perfect way of achieving both of these.”
There are many different reasons why people become mentors, from simply helping out to a feeling of fulfilment, the excitement of a new challenge and honing their own skills. But ultimately, all our mentors feel they are giving something back and helping develop future successful businesses in Greater Manchester.
Considering having your own mentor? Here are our 5 benefits of having a business mentor.
If you’d like to learn more about our mentoring programme and to discover how you can become a part of it, Enquire and Grow today.