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There is increasing evidence that coaching and mentoring is one of the most powerful ways of developing people and enhancing the bottom-line performance of a business. A study in Fortune Magazine of a thousand companies that used coaching found:

• 53 per cent increase in productivity

• 39 per cent increase in customer service

• 32 per cent increase in retention of senior people

• 23 per cent reduction in costs

• 22 per cent increase in bottomline profitability




The same survey reported that the individuals who received coaching experienced improvements in:
• Working relationships with their direct reports
• Working relationships with their manager
• Team building
• Reduction in conflict
• Business relationships with clients

Unfortunately, some leaders try to save money by limiting their expenditure on training, essentially because they don't believe professional development generates immediate bottom-line results. However, coaching can turn an investment in training into dramatic positive results. Xerox Corporation, for example, found that the impact of using follow-up coaching after formal training returned an impressive 87 per cent increase in the effectiveness of training when compared to training without follow-up coaching. Similarly, the International Personnel Management Association found that training improved the performance of their teams by 22 per cent. When coaching was added to the training program they saw an improvement in day-to-day work performance of 88 per cent.

While the benefits of having a mentor are vast and varied, the three key reasons are:

1. You’ll remain focused: First and foremost, having a mentor will keep you focused on your goals. Most people, including owners and successful business people, eventually get complacent - and the danger of not being 100 per cent focused on achieving a goal is that you usually won’t reach it.

2. You’ll achieve personal growth: Having a mentor will help you achieve some degree of personal growth. Most people who sit in a senior management or ownership role do not have someone they can lean on or ask questions of. In fact, very rarely do leaders have someone on hand who will willingly impart knowledge to help them develop and further succeed, both on a professional level as well as in any other area of their life.

3. You’ll stay accountable: Even if you’re not a runner, you’ll understand that in a marathon event it's really hard to run for the entire 42km distance. Well, business is no different. Most successful business people have a plan and generally they have a good understanding of the process required to execute and achieve the goals they set for that business. Where this often becomes difficult, though, is when you reach the middle of the race. At this stage, other things generally start popping up and distracting your focus from your key objective. Your mentor, however, won't get caught up in these day-to-day tasks but instead will hold you accountable to achieving your goal and in the timeline that goes with it.

To be a truly successful fitness operator in this very competitive space you need to be an all-round business person with a solid understanding of all the moving parts within your club. In many cases, the only way you will achieve this knowledge and experience is to work with a mentor.

How to find a mentor

The best mentors are typically highly skilled individuals who are working in the same industry as you. They need to have a thorough and up-to-date understanding of your industry and your business. When selecting someone, look for a person who has been successful in the same or similar role as you - but be mindful of their personality and style. You want to find someone with whom you feel comfortable and compatible. Trial them for one session and make sure you believe this is the right person for you to learn from.

It is not unusual for individuals to utilise different mentors for different roles. For example, if your job requires a high level of technical knowledge, such as a personal
trainer, you should seek to have a mentor who focuses purely on this area. Additionally, to further enhance your business management skills you should select a mentor who specialises in that area. 

Everyone who wants to succeed in their business can and will benefit from a mentoring arrangement. It doesn't matter whether you are just starting out or have been in business for years, everybody has areas of weakness and everyone has room for improvement. The bottom line is a mentor's job is single-minded: to make you better! And who doesn’t want that?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: SHANE BYRNE, BHMS: is the co-founder of Fitness Business Experts, a company that specialises in helping health club owners and managers achieve new levels of success through mentoring and other industry-focused programs and services. Shane has worked in the fitness industry for more
than 20 years. From humble beginnings as a floor instructor, Shane grew through the ranks - mastering the roles of personal trainer, membership consultant, sales manager and club manager before progressing into senior management roles. After receiving three consecutive awards for sales manager of the year, in 2006 Shane was asked to take on the role of Fitness First European sales director. Here he was responsible for the sales results of 105 clubs. Success in Fitness First
continued until 2010 when Shane founded Fit ‘n’ Fast Australia, and as operations director he drove the start-up to open 18 clubs over three years.
Shane can be contacted via www.fitnessbusinessexperts.com.au

Source Url: http://www.fitnesspromag.com/Features/tabid/4741/entryid/1818/why-you-need-a-mentor.aspx
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