The Ambitious Bookkeeper Podcast

How to Find the Right Mentor

March 02, 2022 Serena Shoup, CPA Season 1 Episode 38
The Ambitious Bookkeeper Podcast
How to Find the Right Mentor
Show Notes Transcript

There’s no doubt about it, you have your pick when it comes to working with a coach or mentor. In this solo episode, I’m breaking down how I suggest looking for one, or making sure you have the right mentor for you. Because they (we) are not all the same.

And if you know you’re ready to work with me as your mentor, we are OPENING enrollment inside of The Bookkeeping Business Accelerator March 4- March 9. 

You can learn more at:

Thanks for listening. For more information about the Ambitious Bookkeeper Podcast or interest in our programs or mentoring visit our resources below:

Visit our website:

Follow the Blog:

Connect on Instagram:

Connect on LinkedIn:

Connect of Facebook:

Podcast Publishing Tools

Affiliate Links:

Join the Elevate Summer Sprint - We start July 5!

Pay in Full Link >>

Payment Plan Link >>

[00:00:00] I want to preface this episode with this. It's okay. Not to hire a mentor. It's okay. To work through things on your own. This episode is not to convince you to hire a coach or mentor. Yes, they can be life and business changing, but there's also a lot of really bad coaches out there. Basically just taking people's money and not delivering results, but you can't mistake that for you not taking responsibility to doing the.

[00:00:29] Because a coach or a mentor is just there to guide you, help you make decisions for yourself and inspire you and hold you accountable to take action on what the plan is. You are ultimately responsible for your own success. Whatever success is to you. So now that we have that out of the way, let's say, you know, you want to work with a coach or a mentor.

[00:00:51] How do you know you have found the right coach and how do you vet coaches or mentors to make sure they know what they're talking about? That's what we're going to be talking about today.


[00:01:31] So, what specifically are you looking for help or support in? That's the number one question I want you to ask yourself when you're looking for a coach or a mentor where you see a program and you're starting to get a little FOMO about joining, ask yourself, am I specifically looking for help in what this program is promising? Is it sales? Is it marketing, pricing, legal advice, et cetera. And then ask, is it something that you need to learn yourself or should you explore hiring or outsourcing the task completely? 

[00:02:07] The next question I like to ask is what style of coach are you looking for? Someone who can teach you skills or just offer advice? I kind of consider mentors more of a coach plus a teacher, someone who can guide you through decision-making and also impart their own experience skills and knowledge on you and help you through technical things. I consider a coach, someone more who focuses on helping guide you in your own decision-making, but everyone has their own definition. That is just my definition. I honestly went to to try to like, do the whole, oh, this definition is blah, blah, blah. And the definition of a coach is blah, blah, blah. And they're basically the same thing. All right. So let's just move on. 

[00:02:52] What style of program are you looking for? Do you learn best in a live or a group format? Do you take more action when you're being held accountable by one person or a group of people? Consider what format that fits best for you? 

[00:03:07] Let's offer a couple scenarios as some examples. So in scenario one, you've been in business for a while. You're at max capacity and you don't have time to show up to weekly or even biweekly calls with a coach or in a program. But you know, you need to hire to get out of that never ending hamster wheel. You have maybe a five to 10 K budget, you know, on the other side of getting out of the weeds, you'd be able to focus on bringing on more. And in this case, you might actually benefit from focusing on hiring an employee or a contractor to take things off your plate, instead of adding more to your plate, to perpetuate the impending burnout city that you're in.

[00:03:48] On the other hand, if you don't know the first thing about recruiting, hiring, or onboarding and retaining good people, you'll have a really hard time with this and quickly become discouraged. So in that case, you may actually need to work with a coach, a mentor, or even a consultant. I can help you through that.

[00:04:05] And you're probably gonna have to sacrifice a little more and attend some meetings for that. And though in scenario two, You're just starting out you have ample time to dedicate to building your business and, you know, you can build it faster with guidance. So it's just a matter of finding the right coach that you jive with and the structure of program that you want to be in. Do you want a one-on-one or a group format? Are you also looking for community? Do you want to do a self-paced course and implement it at your own speed? And when you begin intentionally and pace your growth this way. You can prevent yourself from ever ending up or getting too far into scenario one.

[00:04:46] If you don't fall into either of these scenarios and you're thinking maybe I want a coach or a mentor, write out the specific things you are looking for, support in. Like I mentioned, in the style of program that you're looking for, and then let's move on to how to actually vet these options. It's really easy to get swept up in these marketing tactics that are happening online. They're short enrollment periods and yes, I use them too, but not as a tactic. It's, it's more that logistically it's really draining to have a long open enrollment. And when you run a cohort style program, like I do, you have to have a start date when you want everyone to start together.

[00:05:25] But anyhow, these short enrollment periods can make you feel like you have to make a quick decision. There's not, maybe not transparency about pricing and all sorts of fear of missing out inducing things. It's not all bad, but sometimes it can cause you to not listen to your own judgment and join a program that you later regret. As a sidenote, you can always check the refund policy. If they don't have one, then I would definitely consider reaching out to them and asking about the refund policy and figuring that all out. We've actually implemented a seven day refund policy on especially our big programs, but I'm pretty sure every one of our programs now has refund policy in case our students decide it wasn't the right time for them just in case there is someone who gets swept up in FOMO and realizes later on, they couldn't really afford it. I don't honestly want that on my conscience, but we also have to draw the line at a certain point. So people don't take advantage, come in and go through the entire course and then ask for a refund. So there's still boundaries around that. 

[00:06:26] Then go look at testimonials. Ask around in groups from people that have taken the program, try to find out what they liked and what they didn't like about the course, the program, or the coach or instructor and tell them what you're looking for, and if they think it would be a good fit. You can also try to find out if they have successfully built what you're trying to build, whether it's an accounting business or it's more along the lines of social media or something with marketing.

[00:06:52] If the coach or mentor has a podcast listen to it. Do you like the way they talk, their teaching style, their communication style. If you can't stand them on a podcast or a YouTube channel, you likely will have a really hard time learning from them in a coaching format. So tune into that also on larger ticket programs, you can almost always get on the phone with the person before committing to buy, to ask them questions and make sure that you and they are a good fit.

[00:07:20] If you can't get someone on the phone for a program that's $1,500 or more, I'd honestly look for a different program. We always offer decision support calls for our students for the accelerator program. And you can always reach out in the DM's. I've honestly, I have turned people away from the program that I didn't feel it was a good fit for them, or if they expressed they needed something I couldn't offer. In one case, someone was well beyond who my program is designed for. They had been in business for multiple years, had a huge client roster and they were looking for the magic bullet course to solve all their problems. And what she shared with me was that she'd been through almost all the programs out there and still wasn't seeing results. So I recommended she work one-on-one with someone she needed major accountability and one-on-one support and guidance on breaking through some specific things that I don't think that she would have found in a group program if she had not already found that in other words, something that she clearly wasn't getting in the group format. And at that time I wasn't offering one-on-one mentoring and I still only do it sparingly. 

[00:08:30] Then, are you looking for accountability or community? Will the program have either of these aspects built in and how important is that for you? If you're looking for a community and an accountability, maybe a group program is more in line with what you need.

[00:08:46] So I want to know have you ever invested in a program and regretted it later? I know I have, although with everything, I still try to view it as a learning experience enrolling in courses, I regretted actually allowed me to design a better experience for my own students, because I knew what I didn't want to do and how I didn't want to make people feel. 

[00:09:09] So let's recap. And if you haven't taken notes or jotted down your own ideas yet, now's a good time to grab a pen and paper and write these questions down, whether you're currently looking for a coach program or a mentor, or expect to look for one in the future. 

[00:09:23] Number one, what are you specifically looking for? Support in. Number two. Do you need to learn it yourself or should you outsource and free up more of your time? Number three, what style of coach are you looking for? More of a mentor, someone who is going to look at your work and help you with tactical things or someone who is going to more so offer advice and guidance on bigger decisions? Number four, what style of program are you looking for? How do you learn best? Is it a group format? Is it a one-on-one? Is it a blend of the two? Number five, are there actually testimonials or other students who have experienced working with this coach or mentor or taking the program and have they built what you're trying to build? Number six, are you looking for accountability or community? 

[00:10:18] I hope this episode was helpful once again, especially if you're considering working with a mentor or a coach and we'll talk again next week, my friend.