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
- 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