Most of us in the Digital Ecosystem have heard the phrase “Get a mentor if you want to succeed”. There have probably been countless moments in your life where you’ve leaned on someone you trust for advice or assistance. Whether the person you turn to is a professor, friend, family member, athletic coach or other, the importance of mentors is undeniable.
On 18th July, 10 AM, an insightful session for tech entrepreneurs, freelancers and students was conducted by Saba Kalsoom, a community manager and partnerships lead at Worknation Space. The session hosted Raheel Bodla as a guest speaker, a Business Coach based in Silicon \Valley. The format of the session was a virtual fireside chat which gave rise to a thoughtful conversation over startups and the role of co-working spaces, incubators and accelerators.
In this two-part blog, we will give our readers an insight into this session and the importance of mentors and coaching. We will also discuss various ways that are significant in the digital ecosystem.
The major focus of the session was the role of mentors and coaches starting from the difference between the two. In the initial question asked by the community manager worknation, Saba Kalsoom was the difference between mentorship and coaching. To this question, Raheel answered that when on one end, both mentorship and coaching are playing their significant roles, both are different and have their pros and cons.
What is the difference between mentorship and coaching?
Raheel told the audience and the host that mentorship is free and usually a mentor has another full-time job and as an experienced person, mentees reach out to them because they want to achieve something similar in life. Coaching, on the other hand, is not free but has its pros which are:
Coaching provides clarity. Mentors can confuse you as different mentors will tell you different things based on their experiences.
Coaching is sustainable. Mentors might not always have time for you right at the time when you need it because they do not do this full-time.
Coaching has the factor of mutual accountability. You can hold coaches accountable, and they can do that for you as well. Coaches work with a plan and discuss your weekly progress alongside.
Role of coaching or mentorship in Startup Development:
Life coaches can help individuals improve their lives, but entrepreneur development requires intellectual engagement at a deeper level. In life coaching, clients are guided toward improving their relationships, careers, and day-to-day lives, while in founder development, the focus is on ensuring high performance and accelerating growth. Founder development feeds into the building of the organization.
Coworking spaces, incubators, acceleration programs, and startup coaches are all helpful in this regard. Founders of startups need experts that have a pulse on both the micro-prints of startup fundamentals as well as the macro prints of these fundamentals, such as technology strategy, global economy, organizational behaviour, etc. Founders can develop the ability to function between the inside and outside worlds with the help of these experts. For it to be effective, we refer to this as founder development coaching.
Raheel stressed the importance of mentoring and coaching for startups since they require both. An entrepreneur with subject matter expertise needs a mentor, as well as coaching. Ideally, a coach will tell you the market position and provide a business plan. Business plan, market positioning, marketing, sales, operations, finance, and customer success are some of the tasks they perform. In general, these are the seven dimensions of business. The mindset and strategies also need a lot of attention. Major development is of mindset and strategies around these 7 dimensions.
But, What is the criteria to choose a mentor or coach?
After understanding the importance of mentors and coaches, the next question that should be asked is the criteria to consider while choosing a mentor or a coach for your personal or startup development.
In terms of mentors, the mentee reaches out to them to get advice on something that they have achieved for a little bit of hand-holding. So the criteria to choose is to see if they have something similar that you want to achieve.
When it comes to coaching, usually startup founders are already subject matter experts and the coaches bring in their business management and with this collaboration, results are achieved.
Should one also expect domain expertise from a coach?
Raheel told the audience that startup founders already have the subject matter expertise and coaches understand the domain and how those subject matter expertise can be aligned with growth strategies. That’s also where mentors come in to bring in a lot of domain expertise. The seven dimensions of any startup that we mentioned earlier need coaching around mindset and strategies where coaches put in their energies. This is how a coach and a mentor connect with a startup.
In the next part of the blog, we will give you a deep understanding of what more this valuable conversation had. You can read it here.
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