About Support Groups
It can be lonely out there for managers. Your friends and family may not understand what you do and the problems you face and there are many things you can't discuss with your staff or boss. Business mentors and coaches can act as a helpful sounding board. Profit Savvy also wants to introduce a new concept about halfway between these two fairly well known types of support services. We call the concept "Business Tutors".
When are they useful
In Profit Savvy, we interpret the three supporting roles of mentoring, coaching and tutoring as being the offer of a service by a person experienced in smaller business life to another who wants to brainstorm about the everyday issues that come up in their business.
You are probably familiar with the matrix
|I know what I know||I know what I don't know|
|I don't know what I know||I don't know what I don't know|
We believe a good supporting relationship allows you to ask the mentor/coach/tutor questions in the "I know what I don't know" quadrant and get their take on the subject.
A mentor/coach/tutor might also make suggestions on areas where you are in the "I don't know what I don't know" quadrant. This has the great advantage of alerting you to things that you probably should be aware of but have no idea that you should be.
What is the difference
Mentoring, Business Coaching and Business Tutors are much the same concept but delivered in different ways and generally at different costs.
Business coaching is more often a fee-for-service program and is rather more of a firm program of work to improve the skill set of the person being coached. Think of a sports coach whose job it is to ensure that the athlete is well rounded in the skills and fitness necessary for their sport. It is a more full-on activity on a regular basis and often with specific goals in mind. It is personal, fairly intense and expects you to commit to the program. Although it varies, you might be doing an hour of coaching a week for example. Because professional advice is being given, the provider usually has such costs as insurance and they need to recover those costs - as well as their time if they do coaching for a living. It is therefore usually the most expensive of the options.
Mentoring, on the other hand, is more of a dialogue between the two parties. It is less structured and may not be so focused on specific goals. Meetings might be less common and more at the request of the mentee rather than a regular event. It is also more often a free, or very low fee, service just to cover reasonable expenses. There are a number of organized mentoring groups in various countries and towns or you might find a mentor yourself.
Business Tutoring lies in the middle. A low-cost professional or volunteer experienced in both the management of smaller businesses and the content of Profit Savvy will work with you to address the problems you see in your business. Because the job of Profit Savvy is to collect business wisdom and make it available to smaller businesses in a useful fashion, the tutor does not have to do a lot of preparation of fresh teaching materials and can therefore keep the costs a bit lower.
How to Participate in Tutoring
In Profit Savvy, the role of the tutor is to both;
- listen to problems you know about and
- to suggest areas where you are not aware you have problems but might benefit for addressing them when you learn about the issues.
The tutor will point you to useful material in Profit Savvy then work with you to be sure you can follow, and then implement, the material.
You learn for yourself and therefore expand your ability.
Profit Savvy has firstly fairly structured pathways to leaning more about managing owner /operator businesses and, secondly, a collection of business wisdom distilled from leading business thinkers and converted into a format ideal for smaller business operators.
Profit Savvy does audition potential tutors and does have control over the material on the site so we are better able to make matchmaking suggestions and to quality control tutors better than we can with the other two options below.
Tutoring is generally free but, if a tutor charges, we will advise you of that in advance.
Tutors are limited in number and geographic cover. At present, only phone based tutoring is available and only in Australia but we hope to expand the geographic reach as demand increases.
How to Participate in Mentoring
Until we better understand the demand that there will be for mentoring we have set up a "Group" within our networking tools in Profit Savvy. You can find this link under the Mentor button in the top menu. Or you can click here.
You are welcome to join the group and to use the discussion board to express interest in offering your services or in taking advantage of the services offered by someone else.
At the present time, it's difficult to think how we can assist in the "match-making" between the two parties given that they could be in very different geographic regions. We think, as a dialogue develops in this group, we will be able to improve the way that we "matchmake" interested parties.
While you may not find someone sufficiently close to where you are to permit face to face sessions between the two parties, it might still be practical to engage in Skype or telephone sessions between the two parties and to use other electronic means to share files or other documents.
How to Participate in Coaching
We don't yet have a method of screening those who offer coaching programs for their quality. Because they can be expensive, you may run up a bill failry quickly so you want someone who knows what they are doing.
In the absence of a matchmaking service on Profit Savvy, we suggest you Google for coaches in your area.
It’s not possible for Profit Savvy to comment or advise on the skill sets of persons offering themselves as mentors/coaches/tutors. We have no way of knowing the quality of advice that they will offer and the individuals themselves.
Therefore, mentees should satisfy themselves that the mentor/coach/tutor they have chosen suits their needs professionally and as an adviser. We suggest that it might be wise to have discussions via email or by voice, prior to a face-to-face meeting, so that both parties can get a reasonably good idea of what is on offer from the other side.
Mentors/coaches/tutors should also consider having a waiver or similar document that both parties sign at the outset of the relationship. This would cover such things as any costs involved and would have wording to the effect that the advice being offered by the mentor is advice only and that the mentee should obtain professional advice on any matters before they make changes to the way their business operates.
This is entirely up to the two parties. Example Disclaimer forms that could be adapted for this purpose are available on the web.
Youtube - Mentoring the Next Generation: Michael Benko at TEDxOU. Featured on ABC, NBC, and Fox news affiliates Michael Benko is the co-founder of the Amazon Best Selling team the Student Success Academy. Michael's focus is to empower the next generation of students through providing personalized education within a creative framework for students to flourish - link