RedBalloon founder Naomi Simson won't 'mentor' you

CLIENT: UNSTOPPABLES
OUTLET: AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW

Naomi Simson says you probably don't need mentorship, just conversations with a variety of entrepreneurial peers. by Naomi Simson I find myself in a fortunate position. I founded a business with a clear sense of purpose and as a result people are curious about how I did it. Mostly they want to know what "worked" and how they could "do the same thing". This means that I am approached a lot by people who want me to "mentor" or advise them. I am so not the right person to mentor people, so when I am approached I respond with the simple question: "What is the one question that you want answered?" This can take considerable time for the person to formulate and work out what "is the question?" The power of mentoring is not in what a mentor knows, but in the power of the questions they can ask – even if it is just "what is your real question?" Often the ability of the mentor or adviser to search for and refine what that question is comes from years of experience.

Naomi Simson says you probably don't need mentorship, just conversations with a variety of entrepreneurial peers.

by Naomi Simson

I find myself in a fortunate position. I founded a business with a clear sense of purpose and as a result people are curious about how I did it. Mostly they want to know what "worked" and how they could "do the same thing". This means that I am approached a lot by people who want me to "mentor" or advise them.

I am so not the right person to mentor people, so when I am approached I respond with the simple question: "What is the one question that you want answered?" This can take considerable time for the person to formulate and work out what "is the question?"

The power of mentoring is not in what a mentor knows, but in the power of the questions they can ask – even if it is just "what is your real question?" Often the ability of the mentor or adviser to search for and refine what that question is comes from years of experience.