The #1 thing most successful business owners have in common: they have a business mentor. But you already knew that.
When I started mentoring gym owners in 2012, I was drawing on my own experience in the gym AND what my own mentors had taught me. I got lucky: the first mentor I hired, way back in 2009, was exactly the right fit for my business at the time. He gave me clarity and accountability, and saved Catalyst.
Ten years and millions of dollars later, I still have mentors. They’re more expensive (I commit to spending $100,000 per year in mentorship) but I’m saving YEARS by avoiding the “learn as I go” mistake.
My mentors in 2017 are quite different from Denis, my 2009 savior. But I still call Denis often; even though I’m now dealing with larger problems, his advice always grounds me.
After five years of mentoring gym owners, I know that not everyone is a perfect fit. We accept about 3 out of every 10 who apply for mentorship from TwoBrain.
For those who DO fit, I ask them to start with this exercise:
First, think back in your life. Who was one person who changed the course of your life–it could be a teacher, preacher, coach or creature–who influenced you enough to change your course? Maybe they gave you a new perspective; maybe they just gave you a kick in the pants. Who was it?
If you’ve had an influential mentor before, the answer should be obvious.
Next: what was their teaching style? Were they Socratic, asking you questions until you came up with the answer yourself? Or were they militaristic, telling you only the next step? How did they get you to change your mind?
Third question (and most important): How did they spur you to action? How did they hold you accountable?
We now have eight mentors at TwoBrain. Each of us have a slightly different style. Mine is to say, “Here are the three things you have to complete before Tuesday. Here are the videos and here are the templates. You good?” but Ken will ask, “How do I know you’re going to have this done before our next call?” and have his mentoring clients tell HIM how they’re going to be held accountable. Both work.
Next, how do you learn best? Education is part of mentorship. Are you better to work through a scenario with a mentor, or watch a video, or both? Are you better to write a staff handbook from scratch, or to copy mine and then edit with your own preferences?
Finally, how much time do you have to actually do the hard work? That’s pretty important. Years ago, I thought it would be enough to sell people “how-to” videos. There was a lot of knowledge (and about 100 hours of sweat on my part) in the videos. But people didn’t ACT on the knowledge. So when I moved to found TwoBrainBusiness.com in early 2016, I knew 1:1 mentorship HAD to be the core of my practice.
Here’s how I work best, as a mentoree:
1. A quarterly review of my mission in life (to serve those who serve others)
2. Review of my wins and metrics
3. Prioritization of my annual goals
4. Clear steps to take this quarter
5. Clear steps to take this month
6. Metrics we’ll use to track success
7. Accountability and milestones
If you’re familiar with the TwoBrain process, that won’t be a surprise: it’s how we do our monthly mentoring calls after the Incubator. It’s the process I’ve learned to be most effective after five years as a mentor and ten as a mentoree.
It’s quite a bit different from just telling you “the answer” to a problem (I wrote about that more in Consultants vs Mentors.)
Here’s what I suggest: write your answers to the above questions on a clean white piece of paper. Take your time.
Here are the 5 questions again:
1. Who was one person who changed the course of your life?
2. What was their teaching style?
3. How did they spur you to action?
4. How do you learn best?
5. How much time can you invest in being mentored?
Then book a call with at least two established mentors in the gym industry. Here’s a link to our free “Help First” call:
…you’re welcome to start there. Go ahead, talk my ear off! I enjoy meeting new gym owners, because I know your desire to serve is true; you’re in this for all the right reasons. That’s why I’m a mentor; it’s also why I have mentors. Soon, you will too. You’ll never regret it.
Hope this helps!
PS – there are very few “wrong” answers here. Don’t worry.