Why it’s better to have no Business Mentor, than to have a bad one

About a month ago I posted a poll on LinkedIn asking which is the worst option.  Unsurprisingly it came back with compelling results from the 130+ people who voted – 88% suggested that it’s worse to have a bad Business Mentor than not have one at all.

I thought I’d explain why.

In the world of SMEs and entrepreneurship, mentorship is often touted as a crucial element for success. While having a Business Mentor can be incredibly valuable, it’s essential to remember that not all mentors are created or operate equal.  In fact, having no Business Mentor at all may be a better choice than having a bad one.  Here’s why in my view:

Misguided advice: A bad Business Mentor can lead you down the wrong path with misguided advice. They may lack experience or provide outdated information that could harm your business rather than help it.

Negative influence: A Business Mentor’s attitude and ethics can rub off on you.  A bad Business Mentor may have a negative impact on your mindset, values, and work ethics, potentially hindering your growth.

Wasted time and resources: Following the guidance of a bad Business Mentor can waste your precious time and resources.  It’s better to invest your energy in self-learning and seeking out quality resources if this is the case.

Missed opportunities: A bad Business Mentor might discourage you from pursuing opportunities that could have been beneficial for you and your business.  Their limited perspective could hinder your potential.

Stifled creativity: A bad Business Mentor may insist on their way of doing things, stifling your creativity and innovative thinking.  This can limit your ability to adapt and thrive in a dynamic business environment.

In conclusion, while a good Business Mentor can provide invaluable insights and support, a bad one can be detrimental to your entrepreneurial journey.

In an unregulated market, anybody can call themselves a coach, consultant or mentor and with some clever marketing, you have been suckered into their web. They can’t and often don’t deliver the results you desire.

It’s why I have been a member of the Association of Business Mentors (ABM) for over eight years. We have strict selection criteria for all members to ensure capability and a strong Code of Ethics members follow to ensure behaviour.

If you can’t find a capable and professional Business Mentor who can genuinely add value to your growth, it’s often better to rely on your own instincts, learn from more reputable sources, and network with others in your industry.

Remember, not all guidance is beneficial, and sometimes, having no Business Mentor is preferable to having a detrimental one.

What is your experience? Have you engaged an expert who did/ didn’t deliver?