In this article I explore how mentoring helps in the success of female business owners!
Where does mentoring play a role for women? When I needed a business mentor, I could not find a female mentor who knew much at all about business networking and growing my company by word of mouth.
I had to go to a male mentor which was great from the business point of view, but there was no one who could help me with how women go about connecting effectively. I believe that we are called to reach back and help those coming up behind us especially in business. Put our hands out and offer to show women the path that we have blazed. When I asked Sandra Yancy, the founder of E-Women how women could become better at networking and connecting, she stated that she believes that mentoring is a key component to women being more successful in business and she would like to brand the word Femtor. This term stands for females mentoring other females. While I am not sure if we need to add a new word to the english dictionary, I am a firm believer in mentoring. Women should be mentoring other women, and I believe that we have to ask for mentors. Our study shows that those people who said they used mentors and coaches were also the people who showed the most success in their networking and referrals in their business.
Females often ask me how they find a mentor for themselves and here is the advice that I give them; Ask. Simply find someone whom you want to learn from, someone you hold in high esteem and ask them if they would consider mentoring you. Let them know why you chose to ask them and what you want to learn from them. If you never ask, you never have the opportunity to learn from great women all around you. Most women are very open to mentoring. Unfortunately a lot of women are reluctant to ask. Case in point, I am currently mentoring 3 men. All three of the gentlemen came to me and asked if I would be open to helping them via a mentoring process, and told my why they wanted me to help them and have all followed up. Not one woman has asked me even though I speak regularly to women and women’s organizations consistently.
Women Helping Women
I remember sitting in a room listening to a group of very successful local women. When it was time to ask questions I wanted to know if they were mentoring other women to be successful. Each woman told a story about one or two women they had helped. One panelist was a business owner and had successfully opened several locations, so when it was her turn to answer she stated that she mentored her daughter. I remember being struck by that, as mothers are we not always the role model for our daughters? Of course, I am her role model, but should we not be teaching them just as fathers teach their sons, how to connect and be successful at networking, shouldn’t we be teaching our daughters how to go out and find other mentors? Shouldn’t we as women be reaching beyond our own family members and helping our employee’s, co-workers, or fellow business owners be successful at connecting and networking?
I would challenge every woman out there that we each have something of value to offer to those following behind us, and we are all very busy with husbands, children, social and professional lives, however we should always be open to mentoring someone who is looking for a helping hand. It is what we are the very best at after all!