A business mentor can steer a business owner one way over another which could result in a variety of situations, more than likely one of these three;
• No significant impact on the business
• An advance to a more secure and profitable position
• Disaster with repercussions that effect family and shareholders
In my book an accountant can have less of an impact and they are vigorously regulated which includes an accredited qualification post years of training, and compulsory CPD to maintain an association membership. All for good reason, primarily due to legal requirements and operating as tax efficiently as possible but also because they are in a position to give advice and support to businesses based on financial information and reports. So do business mentors. Along with a multitude of other necessary information in order to provide a mentoring service of decent quality.
It is time now for business mentoring to follow the same path. Accreditation is where this path has to begin.
An accreditation process is there to absolutely make sure that once accredited the student has gained knowledge in and shows proficiency in the course material. The course content and material has gone through a process to ensure it meets criteria worthy of accreditation. This provides the mentor with the ability and confidence in the skills they deliver and the recipient the same with the service they receive.
Business mentoring is a relatively new profession, brought over from the US in the early 70’s and possibly a slight slant on management consulting which also requires little proof of qualification. Now is the time to spread the word and educate the potential recipients of business mentoring in the fact that there are mentors out there who have ticked all the boxes which are:
• Industry exposure
• Qualification in an Accredited Course
• Mentoring track record
The fact is that generally business owners get themselves in to an agitated state before they seek advice ‘help’, they more often than not don’t have the budget to pay for a top class business mentor and are so desperate for guidance that they listen to pretty much anybody. Disaster! as everybody and anybody seem to be an expert in business when less fortunate situations arise and an opportunity to dish advice is given. When I started having children I was given a brilliant tip. ‘Everyone, parent or not, will want to tell you how to be one. Listen to them all and absolutely do your own thing’.
The same applies to business advice. Everyone seems to have an opinion regardless as to whether they have actually run a business or not. How can you possibly advise someone at the helm of a business if you have not had the experience of being at the helm yourself? On top of that the ability to advise, guide and support those running a business is very different to that of running your own and this nails the importance of accreditation. It shows that the mentor has achieved the relevant experience, learnt how to use it in the role of a mentor and keeps up CPD in order to belong to an Association. This is wrapped up in the mentoring accreditation process provided by the International Institute of Coaching & Mentoring, delivered by The Association of Business Mentors and a few other recognized bodies here in Europe and Globally.
Kerrie Dorman, Head of mentoring IIC&M