Play to the Individual Strength of a Mentor

Mentors are an important part of any successful career. One challenge I’ve seen is entrepreneurs asking their mentors and/or advisors for the same help when they should be playing to the individual strength of the specific mentor. When entrepreneurs take the same exact question to all five of their mentors, they’re going to get five different answers, which is fine. What isn’t fine is that mentors don’t often have the same domain expertise and experience, and shouldn’t get the same questions.

Here are a few things to keep in mind with startup mentors:

  • What is the mentor’s background? Business executive? Tech entrepreneur? Non tech entrepreneur?
  • What areas are they most passionate about? Corporate culture? Financing? Team building?
  • How can they help the most? Introductions? Strategic thinking? Planning?
  • What’s the best communication process? Weekly phone calls? Monthly email updates? Quarterly dinners?

Mentors help maximize opportunities and minimize mistakes for entrepreneurs while being a critical component of a healthy startup ecosystem. Play to the strength of the mentor for best results.

What else? What are your thoughts on playing to the individual strength of a mentor?

4 thoughts on “Play to the Individual Strength of a Mentor

  1. Great post David, but my question as an entrepreneur is how to be more efficient at finding a mentor? Now the time it takes to due the proper due diligence to know if that mentor is what you need at that moment and if that mentor has the right motivation to ‘benefit’ the the entrepreneur in search of advice.

  2. I was told by a wise sage that you have to be intentional about keeping the relationship going with a mentor. i.e., you need to proactively visit them (rather than vice versa) and prep for your meetings with them, etc.

  3. It makes sense as a mentee to do your due diligence in knowing the strengths of your mentor to allow them to give you sound advice in things that they are strong at and are passionate about as well. It will also be respective of their time as well because they are using their time to help guide you with their knowledge. Great post David!

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