January 19, 2010

Why Entrepreneurs Choose Loudmouths as Mentors

Here's an interesting article from Entrepreneur Magazine that explores the concept of why entrepreneurs tend to choose (wrongly) the loudest guy as a mentor.

And then they go on to give some suggestions on how to choose a mentor the right way:

  • First, recognize that you’re your only savior; everyone else is there merely to supply data, offer up some wisdom and, maybe, hold your hand.

  • Second, put yourself in a situation where you can get access to many mentors. You can do a load of legwork or sign up for a service where mentorship (and a boatload of mentors to choose from) is the core of the program.

  • Finally, ask questions. Don’t grill a potential mentor; after all, you’re looking for free help. Instead, have a conversation and learn about what the person has actually done – how they’ve succeeded and how they’ve failed. Make sure they have real accomplishments and real failures (you learn more from failures than successes) and can communicate what they learned in a way that works for you. If hubris is what you hear, try somewhere else.

  • Be selective. Find someone with both good advice based on things they’ve actually done plus the ability to communicate they way that works best for you. You’ll be much happier and, quite likely, more successful yourself.