(Left to right) John Poma, A+ Pool Service LLC; Rudy Stankowitz; Erik Taylor, Chlorine King Pool Service
I have mentored these two for years, and they have become friends. I’ve been helping Erik since his first day in the pool industry.
Nowadays, partnering with a seasoned pro yields unsurpassed opportunity, but what’s in it for the mentor in the mentor/mentee relationship? Aside from warm fuzzies, is there a return on investment when assuming this role?
Mentoring will keep you on top of your game. Have you heard the expression, “I’ve forgotten more than you know”? Old-timers know there is truth to this statement. The questions you answer and advice you give will likely cause you to dig into the back of your mind, lunging that info back to front and center.
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but if that old dog needs to research a newfangled whatchamahoosey, that old dog will find itself well versed in the latest technology. Your mentee will broaden your knowledge simply by covering more ground or coming across new gadgets you have not yet encountered.
Your mentee also knows people you don’t, which will expand your network. You never know when you might need an introduction for this or that. Maybe you haven’t been able to recruit for a vacant position at your firm. Your mentee might know someone perfect to fill that spot.
That rookie could even assist you with the hiring process because this person may be of a younger generation, which will help you build your skills in understanding and communicating with that age group. Not a bad ace to have up your sleeve in a world that struggles with a workforce shortage.
One of the worst television commercials I’ve seen featured the founder of a pizza company. He talked about a new program and mentioned the idea had come from one of its delivery drivers. The commercial ended with him saying something along the lines of, “Who would have thought a delivery driver would have a good idea?” Good ideas come from everywhere, upward communication included.
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Mentees are a fresh set of eyes that may open yours to new ideas or provide a solution to a problem you didn’t know you had. More often than not, benefits flow in both directions. Just because an individual is a greenhorn in the pool business does not mean they lack business acumen.
I mentor and coach, but I don’t keep track of how many individuals in the market have my handprint on their back. It’s not a contest. I mentor for free; I coach at a fee. (I charge for coaching because it is a structured program designed to catapult a business.)
In addition to all that is mentioned above, I believe in paying it forward. The pool industry has been very good to me. It’s kept a roof over my head and food in my belly. I stumbled into it, like pretty much everyone else I know. I thought about leaving once or twice, but here I am. The people are amazing, and I am honored to be a part of it. Why not help clear a path for others who will be the industry’s future?
You won’t know if mentoring suits you unless you give it a try. You may be good at it. The days of worrying about breeding competition are in the past; trust me, there are enough pools for everyone. Why not teach a kid to fish and make the pool industry even better?
Where to find a mentor/mentee
PHTA Mentor Match Program
The PHTA is looking for volunteer mentors for its Mentor Match program. Once they have enough mentors, it will be opened for mentees to find an industry mentor. Learn more at bit.ly/PHTAMentor