Phil Weinman

Phil Weinman

Tuesday, 04 September 2012 00:00

Is hiring a business mentor expensive?

This article first appeared on May 10th, 2010.


I have employed a personal/life coach for the last 12 months and this have been one of the best investments resulting in the best returns. I now want a business coach/mentor. Does this usually involve a significant cost or investment?


A personal coach may just work for some. I personally have never tried it.


I believe professional coaching and mentoring is where the true value lies.


But I will emphasise now – the best mentors are those that don't need to charge a fee to mentor. They do it because they like the person who has asked them and they want to help in some way.


Throughout my business life I've been mentored and have mentored many times over. I can easily say that I have personally mentored hundreds of individuals over the years and never for a fee.


I have had some fantastic mentors throughout my life too, from high profile business individuals through to longstanding business contacts.


Currently, I mentor around 40 people from all different walks of life and for some I have invested in their businesses through Deasil Management Group.


Most are based purely on personal relationships I've developed where I want to see the individual and/or their business idea grow and take shape.


I think if you're going to get real value from a business coach or mentor, you want them interested in you because of your personality and your business acumen and ideas – not because they are receiving a pay cheque.


I say the same about advisory boards. I strongly advocate inviting people to sit on your board in an unpaid role. This way you know their advice and their interest is legitimate.


You may ask why someone would want to mentor you without payment?


Well, believe it or not, many highly successful people who are not driven by getting paid for work they do because they don’t need to are happy to pass on their knowledge and their affiliation with you and maybe your business may even complement their own credentials.


Or believe it or not, they may just really like you. You may want to offer them some equity in your business – this is largely different from paying a fee or salary.


Make sure you weigh up your potential mentor's worth to you and your business before throwing equity at them.


All in all my personal professional development would not have been as successful without the support of the many mentors I have worked with.


I strongly recommend anyone to seek a mentor and reap the rewards of good advice, new perspectives and ongoing and active interest in your personal and business development.

Philip Weinman is a serial entrepreneur. He founded HiSoft in 1983, growing it into a $300 million turnover company. He then founded CTS Travel and Events before founding Deasil Management Group, which invests in start-ups.


In 1995, Philip founded CTS Travel and Events and four years later the company merged with Internet Travel Group, which then listed with a turnover in excess of $450M million. The Internet Travel Group was then acquired by Flight Centre.


Ask Philip or any other StartupSmart mentor a question here.

Comments (2)

Subscribe to this comment's feed
Phil, may I offer an alternative response?

Mentoring is a great thing. It is hugely valuable to the mentoree and a rewarding activity for the mentor. Well done for helping so many entrepreneurs.

A mentoring relationship usually involves the transfer of knowledge from the mentor to the mentoree. This can be technical knowledge or more general advice. A mentor can also provide valuable feedback. Where the relationship is unpaid, the mentor may be seen as doing a favour and in any mentoring relationship the mentor is regarded as the ‘senior partner’.

Some people may not be comfortable with this relationship, others may just find it hard to identify or approach a potential mentor. This is quite a different dynamic from paid coaching and I thought I might put forward a coach’s response.

The person making this inquiry has found value in life coaching and is keen to receive feedback on whether they can expect similar results from a business coach. Yes! Clients may pay coaches between $1,000 – 2,500 per month for a coaching program, and with fees this high, they expect results.

We use a formal process to drive change; we have access to extensive resources and a wide network. A coaching relationship is a partnership of equals; both client and coach make a commitment to achieve agreed goals. A recent survey of our clients revealed more than 60% achieved greater than 200% growth in revenue and 93% reported their business had improved as a result of coaching. (See full results here ).

As a business coach, I encourage and assist my clients to seek out mentors. If you are seeking to drive positive, sustainable change in business, it would also be valuable to have a business coach on your team.

Richard Everson
Small Fish Business Coaching
RichardEverson , May 11, 2011
  • report abuse
  • +0
  • vote down
  • vote up
Reg Eustace
There are many successful business people who freely provide advice and support to new and emerging small businesses because they want to give something back or they simply enjoy doing so. These people are to be encouraged for what is a valuable community service.

However there are not enough of these wonderful people around but there are many experienced business people with the skills and experience to be mentors to other small businesses.

Whilst small business will rarely be able to afford the often massive fees paid for mentoring type services in the larger commercial world I believe it is time to educate the small business owners of the value of expanding their management skills and mentoring has been shown to be a most effective means of achieving this.

Let’s make it worthwhile to make skills and experience readily available to small business and unless government is prepared to massively subsidise such programs (which will not happen), and convince small business to pay its mentors and develop the role of the professional mentor.

As a separate issue why would someone ‘sit on a board in an unpaid role’ given the significant personal liability and responsibility that comes with that role? Sitting on a board has to be an independent, commercial and professional role.
Reg Eustace , September 05, 2012
  • report abuse
  • +0
  • vote down
  • vote up

Write comment

smaller | bigger

Invalid Input

Follow us

StartupSmart on Twitter StartupSmart on Facebook StartupSmart on LinkedIn StartupSmart on Google+

Subscribe to StartupSmart RSS feeds

Sponsored Links

Our Partners

SmartSolo sign up

Private Media Publications



Smart Company


Property Observer


Leading Company


Womens Agenda