3 Vital Things The Best Mentors Do Differently
Successful mentorship roots itself in a relationship, not a transaction
Whether you are seeking general or tactical advice, having someone who can equip you with the tools and mental models you need to be successful can dramatically help you figure out the right direction to take.
Many of the world’s most successful people — entrepreneurs, athletes, celebrities — credit much of their success to the relationships they formed with powerful mentors early on in their careers. However, you also read the stories of times where “advisers” have led their clients down the wrong path — giving the wrong advice at the wrong time.
Whether you are actively seeking a life-long mentor or already have an established relationship with one, it is important to always be checking for a few qualities that differentiate the best of the best mentors and coaches from the rest of the pack.
I sat down with an expert in this space to understand what to look for when selecting the perfect coach. Sterling Griffin, the Founder of Wealthy Coach Academy, a 12-week online school, which teaches online fitness coaches, how to create a six-figure earning fitness coaching business within 12 weeks, has seen it all when it comes to mentorship and training. Griffin mentors the mentors, and provides some of the world’s most influential advisors with the toolkits they need to be successful, and more importantly, impact the lives of their clients.
Griffin gave me a bunch of nuggets of advice, here are a few of my favorite — the 3 Vital Things The Best Mentors Do Differently
Find Their Why / Motivation
The internet is saturated with mediocre, fanciful advice on “how to get rich quick.” While the crowd of gurus and consultants producing this content may mean well, chances are their incentives are not perfectly aligned with potential mentees. With a bit of research (or even just talking to the mentor/coach), you can generally find out very quickly whether or not the coach/mentor is in it for the right reasons.
Ask yourself, does this person look like they are doing this purely for the money? Or are they actually willing to invest their time in my future?
Griffin’s story is particularly motivational, “The reason why I’m a coach, is because I was powerfully coached. I was the guy who always had potential but never realized the actual. Nothing serves the world like great coaches because coaches simply help other people create the life that they want.
And specifically why now? “It’s because I’ve developed a series of skills for myself that I have something of value to offer to other people. I think that it’s important for you to become a coach if, and only if you develop an understanding of a particular subject that you can use to help other people.”
While it can be helpful to have an optimistic and motivational mentor, working with someone who is completely overconfident in their ability to bring results to the table will inevitably drive you to disappointment and failure. The best mentors are able to balance optimism with reality — bringing a cautious, yet positive attitude to the table.
One common false promise among mentorship relationships is that the mentee will not have to do much work. The truth is that there are no shortcuts to success.
Even the best mentors realize that their ability to impact their client only goes as far as the client is willing to put in. Griffin is really honest about this, as he tells me that “the biggest misconception about hiring a trainer is that that is enough. Here’s the thing, the only thing that changes someone’s life, is taking action. The only thing that will change any client’s lives, that works for the coach, is them following through on what the coach assigns them to do. You see, it’s not enough to hire the coach and show up for your meetings. The coach is not going to do the work for you.”
At the end of the day, it is the mentee that must be comfortable making life changes to bring results.
While motivation can be useful, mentors who rely only on abstract concepts and high-level strategies are far less helpful than those who are able to provide strategic and tactical tools that mentees can use to become more successful. The best coaches are not necessarily doing complex data analysis for their clients, but rather they have figured out how to provide a model and life framework for thinking that can be directly applied to life.
Griffin says, “The best mentors and life coaches understand that if you’re going to achieve a particular result quickly, then you must not try to reinvent the wheel. People that are successful, and continually achieve higher and higher levels of success, with as few mistakes as possible, simply look and find who already has the business, the body, the relationship, the whatever that I want, and how can I do what they’ve done to get what they’ve got?”