Insights from a business mentor and connector

Insights from a business mentor and connector

Leadership & Management

Dhananjay Parkhe

Dhananjay Parkhe

322 week ago — 6 min read

Over the years I have been a mentor, connector and facilitator to numerous individuals and entrepreneurs. In this article, I will elaborate on the 11 roles that an effective mentor plays.


1. Coach -  A coach is required when you need someone to help you think through difficult problems. A good coach doesn’t solve problems; they help you see both the problem and your role clearly. They do this by observing, listening, asking focused questions, reflecting, and challenging. Coaches can suggest strategies for solving problems you may not have considered, and can help you think of the 'bigger picture' on ideas and possible solutions.


2. Connector - All mentees need this. There is an old saying, “It’s all about who you know”. Well, it’s who you know — along with who they know, and the endeavour to create a rich business network. Whether it’s staking your own credibility on helping find a first customer who’s willing to take a risk on the unproven entity, or making that connection to a critical hire, a connector is important. People are generally inward looking. A connector can help bridge gaps and help bring about synergies.


3. Challenger - An entrepreneur’s drive needs to come from within, but many of us also need a healthy push to heighten our sense of passion and urgency and keep us moving forward. The challenger’s role is to push an entrepreneur to put in the hard work, to sweat the details that matter, to hit key milestones and to outwork his/her competition. It’s also the challenger’s responsibility to confront assumptions and ask the tough questions that ultimately prevent an entrepreneur from making costly errors.


4. Cheerleader - You remember the people whom you can call after getting a big promotion and they will be as thrilled for you as your parents. In a cutthroat world, you need people who will genuinely be happy for you and who will be there when everyone else has left — i.e., after your company has gone bankrupt. You don't need too many people like this--sometimes one is just enough, but this person is your rock. A cheerleader can give an entrepreneur the motivation and energy needed to persevere. That energy is also found in a supportive spouse, parent or in good friends, but it really helps to have someone with relevant experience and credibility say, “You can do this.”


5. Educator - The tests of building a business are frequent — and lessons are ongoing. An educator is someone who sees in an entrepreneur a desire to learn and is willing to sit down and teach him/her when needed. From business basics to complex ideas and practices, they’ll take the time to understand knowledge gaps and help entrepreneurs avoid the costly mistakes that can be caused by being too proud to ask for help or advice. An educator is a person who takes the time to sit down and share their expertise with those who want to learn. Educators love to help others by sharing their wisdom. They want to see everyone succeed!


6. Ideator - When an entrepreneur is buried in executing day-to-day tasks and sweating the small stuff in the trenches, taking the time to pause and survey the bigger picture is critical for keeping a business moving in the right direction. The ideator loves to play the role of thought partner or accountability partner.


7. Librarian - As you navigate through life, it’s helpful to be able to pull from various resources to help you get along. The librarian has a wealth of information on your community, clubs, organisations and support systems. They know a resource for almost any need and are aware of where to go to get questions answered or to get things done.


8. Role model - We need to find people who we admire. People who are living parts of their life in a way you aspire to, or who currently have the career that you want to have. Spend time with them and get to know their routines, their resources, how they go about their days. While their way is not the only way, you can gain valuable insight into steps you might want to take to get you closer to your goals.


9. Teammate - A teammate is someone to remind you that it’s okay; tomorrow is another day. A good teammate realises that you aren’t always looking for a solution to your problem, or a motivational speech to spur you on. You just need someone to listen with a sympathetic ear, and then allow you to move on.


10. A person with a personal brand - This person helps entrepreneurs dream big - define their vision, set their mission, goals, objectives, action plans by working on a long and midterm strategy for their businesses. This person then helps them to begin execution by drawing up a project management dummy set up with timelines, deadlines, reviews, course correction etc.


11. Non-playing captain - A mentor brings a dispassionate, detached look to businesses as they pass through crises, experience turnarounds or make losses. Brainstorming and creative thinking are necessary ingredients as the non-playing captain guides entrepreneurs on their business journey.


Over time, I have played all these roles as a mentor and continue to do so to help the people I work with. John S Crosby defines mentoring beautifully when he says, “Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen and push in the right direction.”


To explore business opportunities, link with me by clicking on the 'Invite' button on my eBiz Card.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.


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Dhananjay Jay Parkhe

Dhananjay (Jay) Parkhe Global Goodwill Ambassador. Mentor Author Speaker Coach CSR, Advisor, Educator, Independent Director Bengaluru Area, India