Are you “energetic and cheerful” while also being “incredibly patient”? Can you be a dedicated “friend, role model, and motivator” to a youth or a peer? Most mentoring jobs ask for a LOT. They want you to be everything for next to nothing. Being the good-hearted people that we are, it’s easy to overlook this disparity and simply give it our best.
And why not? Most of us find ourselves taking on mentoring jobs for free all the time with our friends, family, and acquaintances. When you have knowledge and experience, people will gravitate to you for guidance. I know, because I’ve been there many times in my own life. To be paid for something we do all of the time is a gift! This may feel especially true to those of us who are taking on mentoring jobs part time, simply to enjoy the experience.
It seems good in theory, anyway. The truth is that everyone has natural gifts and abilities that they take for granted. The mistake we make is assuming that because they’re relatively easy for us to do, they must not be worth much. Anyone who has ever profited from their talents knows the real truth: what may come easily and naturally to you does NOT come easily and naturally for everyone else. If you put some effort and time behind your skills, you can make them extremely profitable.
Believe it or not, however, there are those among you who think that helping people and transforming lives is a gift and not something to be marketed or sold. Drop it. Such high ideals don’t hold up in practice. Your knowledge, experience, and the ability to communicate these effectively to other people is a wonderful skill that should be rewarded, and its your own inner self-worth or hidden agenda that’s keeping the money away.
Do you expect your dentist to work on your teeth for free? Of course not. Other noble endeavors – firefighting, teaching, healing and even spiritual guidance – all accept payment for services rendered. As a mentor or coach you have to be able to put the word out about your services, market yourself and accept payment. Without paying, some people may even consider your services worthless. How much would they value a free Accountant?? Not much.
If you want to make a career of coaching or mentoring instead of picking up the odd jobs wherever you can find them, you’re going to have to aim higher. Take a good look at yourself and answer these questions honestly:
1. Do you believe in yourself? Most people think they believe in themselves, but subconsciously they’re not so sure. Do you believe you can succeed in coaching or mentoring? More importantly, do you want to be a professional mentor? Read your body and your subconscious with simple muscle testing to make sure you aren’t sabotaging yourself before you start.
2. What is your area of expertise? Maybe you prefer mentoring children, peers, or elderly people. Your knowledge and experience may be primarily based in a specific profession, science, art, or trade. Identify your strengths and focus on them to build a strong base for a long-term mentoring career.
3. What is your value? I’m not only talking about money here (unless that’s all you care about!). This is about what value you can bring to other people’s lives. A better way to phrase this question would be to ask what do others value in you? What value do you bring others? Also, what makes you different from other coaches or mentors in terms of value? If you do something different or unique, celebrate it! Use this as your “USP” or “Unique Selling Position”. Then focus your efforts on marketing, building a reputation as the “expert,” and building your business based on this USP as a foundational marketing strategy.
Remember that mentoring jobs, even volunteer ones, can be important and fulfilling. Your path as a mentor is limited only by your beliefs and desires. If you want to make coaching or mentoring a career, don’t let anything get your way! Creating your own job is usually the best option for those who don’t fit into the mold and dream of more.