The biggest difference my mentor made is….

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The biggest difference my mentor made is….

1. Tell me a bit about yourself – how did you start your career and what do you do now?

  • Grew up in Melbourne
  • Studied a Bachelor of Multimedia and graduated back in 2001
  • Back then it was quite hard to find a job in digital
  • I hunted and hunted for 6 months without much success
  • I interviewed for at a very small web design agency in Melbourne and was awarded the job
  • The man running this was a guy called Nick Marvin

2. Let’s talk about mentors. Who’s your first mentor and what impact it had on you?

  • Nick Marvin!
  • So my first day, he said “Right! You are going out on a sales call and will visit a prospective client”
  • I naturally freaked out because:
    • I knew nothing about sales
    • I barely knew anything about web design
  • The end result was the sales meeting went well, I figured out what they needed and managed to convert the sale!
  • Nick continued to keep thrusting me into the deep end and continuously pushing me out of my comfort zone
  • He got me interested in personal development
  • During that 3-4 year period I learnt so much!

3. What do you see as the difference between a coach and mentor?

  • Mentor – sets the tone & long term vision for what is looking to be achieved.
  • Coach – results driven. Very focused on accountability.

Example is the coaching program I am involved in:

  • We operate in 4 Monthly “Sprints”
  • At the start of each sprint, my mentor will look all the data (financials / organisational chart / issues + challenges / opportunities)
  • The mentor paints broad brush strokes on the general direction
  • I get the opportunity to ask questions & get feedback

During that sprint:

  • Coaching is done by peers, subject matter experts
  • We meet weekly
  • We show up having done our homework
  • We are held accountable to each other

4. How have you found mentors and what’s your advice to our listeners on finding mentors? Does LinkedIn or any other social media work?

  • When I was 23 years old saw a guy called “David Trewern” do a presentation on web design at a local meet up
  • David went on to build a very successful digital agency and then subsequently exit the business for a very good outcome
  • 12 years on, I had started my business, and written a book called “Love At First Site
  • Out of the blue I sent him a copy along with a hand written note letting him know that presentation he gave changed my life
    I was able to strike up a friendship with David and meet with him a handful of times to ask questions about his journey and how he achieved what he had achieved
  • In my opinion, offline is where it is at

5. Let’s imagine that I have identified a mentor, how do I approach the next step? Do I announce that I want you to be my mentor? 

  • A simple handwritten note is all that is required
  • Start very slowly
  • This is like dating, if you come in too strong, you will turn the other person off
  • When the time is right, ask for a meet up at a convenient location for the mentor
  • Only ask for 15 min and just say, “I have a few questions to ask you”
  • Be super respectful of their time
  • Send a follow up card or email
  • Wait a month or two
  • Repeat
  • Doesn’t need to be formalised – this is where things get icky!

6. How does a mentee maximise the mentoring opportunity?

  • Be prepared
  • Ask thoughtful questions
  • See where you can add value. Connections, opportunities
  • Always get the bill

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