Why Most “Coaches” Shouldn’t be Mentors

The online space has become like the wild west, in that so many people are offering advice and most have no right to be giving it. I was at a recent event and got a chance to chat with many other entrepreneurs about what they look for in a mentor. I expected to hear a wide range of answers when asking what to look for, but I was shocked to find that all the responses were quite similar. There are a ton of people offering coaching that have never and will never produce results, but they will take your $20,000 dollars and never deliver anything. Your 19-years-old and a dating coach? How many relationships have you been in? There is a bit of talent to it, but a coach or mentor needs results before you take their guidance.

There comes a point when you can no longer learn from someone that has not been where you are and come out the other side a raging success. I just cannot trust someone to deliver the results for myself and my business if they have not done it at a high level themselves. A good coach can be expensive, but just like with a pro athlete, if they have the right experience they can be the missing link that can take you to the next level.

1. Look for someone with stats:
I feel like each time I have this conversation, the same name comes up for me, Aaron Walker. He was a successful businessman for decades including being in a mastermind with famous individuals such as Dave Ramsey. After high levels of success, Aaron was looking for a new game, and started a coaching business called “A View From the Top.” A coach is someone that should know what you are up against so that you don’t make the same mistakes, they’ve made them and can help you get there faster without falling in the same traps; That’s what makes someone like Aaron the right kind of coach.

2. Have Concise Things to Ask:
I got a chance to sit down with Brian Smith, the founder of UGG Boots. Before selling the company, and starting his current coaching and speaking business, Brian ran UGG as a very successful company. I asked Brian how one should look for a mentor, his response was a bit surprising.

He explained to me that he is always willing to help a young entrepreneur and give them 15 minutes of his time, but there’s some requirements as to what will push Brian to give up his very valuable time. He explained to me that mentorship is not about eating together and getting a cup of coffee, rather, winning his time for advice is about having very concise and well thought out questions to ask so that he can actually be of help.

3. Someone So Tough they push you to improve or quit:
In his recent book “The Ego is the Enemy,” author Ryan Holiday tells a very interesting story about mastery and mentorship. Metallica and guitarist Dave Mustaine were no longer meshing, thus he was removed from the band and  replaced by a young guitarist named Kirk Hammett.

Hammett wanted not just to be another guitarist but someone that would change the emerging genre of thrash metal. He then went on to hire Joe Satriani to be his guitar teacher. Satriani was a hard pushing teacher that expected a high level of results from his students, so much so that many quit.

Hammett took Satriani’s teaching so well that not only did he excel, but also student and teacher improved as artists. A good mentor should be someone that pushes you so far that you create a new level of excellence.

If you really want to improve as an entrepreneur, then you need to not only have strict demands for yourself but also for your mentor or coach. The game of business is meant to be won. Though the right guidance can be expensive, it is well worth it as long as you are well aware of your mentor’s statistics and mannerisms.

A good mentor should have statistics and only the winners should be teachers; anyone can teach you to lose. However, as a hard-driving entrepreneur your goal should be to win at the highest level. Play to win the game and only learn from the best.

Jeremy Slate is the founder of the Create Your Own Life Podcast which helps entrepreneurs live the lives they know they were meant to. He studied literature at Oxford University, specializes in using Online social networking to build and offline relationship, and was ranked #1 in iTunes New and Noteworthy. It is because of Jeremy’s success in podcasting that he was able to accomplish 10,000 downloads of his podcast in the first month. Jeremy is also an online marketing expert for Greater New York firm, ClearImages Design.