I love the school of thought that says you can’t know about something unless you’ve been there yourself. Its rubbish.
Oncology consultants have (hopefully) never had cancer.
75% of obstetricians (the male ones) have never had babies.
Jonny Wilkinson’s kicking coach had never kicked in a rugby world cup final.
What all these people have in common is the ability to get their client/patient past the winning line.
This is not a licence for anyone to claim to be an expert and ply their trade willy-nilly. But it is an argument to recognise that you should use the best possible resources to get you where you want to go. And they may or may not have been there already.
An argument against using experts could also be used.
Have you noticed how many ‘successful’ people may have been awesome in their particular trade at one particular time (skill or luck?) But might have neither the analytical skills to accurately define their ‘secret’ nor the communication skills to pass it on.
Success in business is one skillset. Identifying the formula is another. Identifying a formula that is transferrable to other people running other businesses is another. And being able to communicate it is yet another.
In my experience, I know that I cannot do it all myself. At various times I have different mentors or coaches.
Richard had run a huge agency, but actually had no experience of one of our size.
Rob was really an accountant but had the ability to show me exactly what I could not see.
June had the skill to get me to really think about the impact of what I was doing.
None were doing exactly what I was trying to do and on reflection that diversity and outside perspective was what was so special for me.
So, if you’re thinking about getting a mentor or some coaching, my advice is to choose someone that sees and challenges you in the ways that you cannot see or challenge yourself.
Peer to peer learning can also be fantastic, I’ll talk to you about the benefits of a mastermind group another day!