The Instructor as a Student (of Entrepreneurship) (Part 2)

Mentoring Matters

After all of the language learning, then came the mentoring.  Our company has some really great mentors who have all been incredibly helpful and insightful.  We have actually been very fortunate.  At first this was great.  We were getting lots of helpful ideas and suggestions, but nothing too specific.    However, the longer the mentoring went on, the more frustrated I became.  Not because they were not doing their jobs, but because I just wanted someone to tell me exactly what to do to be successful at this, being an entrepreneur.  How exactly do we pitch this in 5-7 words?  Don’t give me potentialities, give me something I can pitch; exactly, word for word.  You are the expert; tell me what to say!

As I was reflecting on this the other day, my frustration, I thought…”Hmmm, this sounds very familiar, except I usually hear it from students in a different context”.   What I generally hear from them is “Tell us exactly what we need to study for the test” or “tell me which chapters should I focus on for the paper,  spoon feed me”!  I just kind of laugh and say, “Why anything we have covered in the class is a possibility.  You need to make the connections between the how and the why of what we have been discussing. Show me you know what you are talking about, and don’t ramble hoping to stumble across what you think I am looking for in your responses.   Learning is a process.  It’s different for everyone.  Don’t focus on the answers; focus on asking the right questions”.

My epiphany: this entrepreneurship stuff is no different.  I am learning this as a process and no one can give me “the answer”.  I have to discover it myself.   Or we have to discover it for ourselves, as a team.   This is exactly what I say to my students, repeatedly.  And thus, the instructor becomes a student.  Value the process, value the process, value the process.   Sigh.


Published by

Tiffany Reiss

Passionate educator, entrepreneur and health promoter.