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Sometimes when I am searching for a blog topic that might be of interest I will go to some of my regular sources and see if there something there to stimulate an idea. Today I found my inspiration in the CPSA (Canadian Professional Sales Association) newsletter, which has quite often provided me with input for this blog.

The article in the newsletter, The Value of Mentors from Brian Tracy was interesting to me. Tracy is a motivator who can sometimes be a little intimidating, but he does have good ideas and his success speaks for itself.

I have varied experience with the mentor “concept” and I’m not sure that I know how to be a good mentor. In the past we have had formal mentoring programs that meant I would spend an hour a month with certain people. That had some success … if that person knew what they wanted from the sessions. It had much less success when I was left to try and guess what was important to them.

Over time I would insist on them taking full responsibility for the sessions … scheduling them and providing an agenda. that had a little more success, but quite often the agendas were a little bland. In the same way that I didn’t really know what I knew that might be interesting to them … they had trouble figuring our what they needed to know! Catch 22!

The best success for me has come when there is something very specific to discuss, that I feel I can bring some value and the recipient feels it will help them. Tracy’s article seems to support this.

I have spent time with your entrepreneurs looking for advice, with other business people who thought I might know something and with employees looking to progress in their careers. I have belonged to peer groups that gave me access to knowledgeable people but have never had a formal mentor. I don’t know what i would look for in a mentor … I don’t expect Bill Gates or Larry Ellison would be happy to offer up time for me!

The article is worth a read and while I still struggle with how to make the mentor role work, it is a work in progress and perhaps this article gives me a little more insight.

PS. CPSA membership in Canada is a great bargain … for salespeople and for business owners. Great discounts on hotels and car rental in addition to super materials monthly in their magazine.