Blog #51 - Who should mentor graduates?

Just because you are the owner of the business and you know the ethos and culture of your business better than anyone else, does that mean mentoring falls on your shoulders?

Just because you have senior staff that are available, does that mean they should mentor your graduates?

Should you outsource mentoring to someone else?

All valid options in physiotherapy private practice. Let's unbox the pros and cons of each.

Many business owners have their own caseload or are busy with the everyday running of the business that they may have limited time to mentor. You may enjoy having a caseload and do not want to give this up or the valuable income that comes from it. You may need to hire a graduate or graduates in your business but are not the right person to mentor them. Just because you are the boss, does not automatically mean you are a great mentor. Sorry to be blunt.

We all have to work within our strengths and many business owners are really good at being business owners and managing the day to day tasks and crunching the numbers. To be a good mentor you need to have a number of traits:

1. The time to dedicate to mentoring graduates

2. The passion and drive to be consistent and motivating all the time

3. The love for teaching and guiding a graduate early in their careers, rather than just telling them the answers.

If you do not possess these three traits, then I would suggest hand it on to someone else and use your strengths in better ways in the business.

If you have senior staff in the business they also need to have the 3 traits mentioned above to take on the role as a mentor. As a business owner you have the power to schedule that time into their diary to make mentoring happen, but if they do not possess traits 2 and 3 then they are also not the right person for the role.

Prospective senior staff mentors have to have your business culture and ethos down pack if they are to lead by example. Some senior staff may be senior by time but not senior in private practice experience which makes them unsuitable for the role.

When it comes to outsourcing, there are many options on the market, including personal mentors that specialise in 1:1 mentoring of graduates in private practice as well as self directed learning resources. Many self directed learning resources e.g. Physio Network, Clinical Edge etc are amazing but really focus on the clinical aspects of MSK practice.

Many graduates are seeking a feedback loop, sounding board and 1:1 caseload discussion. This is what improves productivity and success in young therapists ten fold.

Yes it is scary to allow someone else into your business to mentor your grads. What if they teach them something you do not agree with?

Keep in mind, every mentor that wants to work with your graduate/s has the three traits we mentioned above as they have created a whole business model around it. Secondly they will go to the end of the earth to get to know your business and culture and discuss with you the main areas of focus you would like your graduates to excel in. It is not in our best interests to do what is right for us, but what is a right fit for your business and staff, our livelihoods depend on it.

Lastly, outsourcing allows an external party to give you ideas and options about what has worked in the past with other graduates that face barriers in succeeding in business, you do not need to take all the burden of dealing with performance issues of an under performing graduate. Graduates also respond to business knowledge, KPI discussions and other topics better from someone else, rather than the boss or someone else that is seen to work for the business.

In summary, you need to find the right person to mentor your graduates that have the three traits we discussed above. You need to work in your lane with your strengths and let someone else take on the job of mentoring your graduates if you feel the task is overwhelming or not your passion.

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