Is it really worth having a mentor?

The Late, and very Great Mike Sparkes

The Late, and very Great Mike Sparkes

Short answer is yes, but here’s a slightly longer one.

My first mentor was Mike Sparkes who started as my agent when I was freelance but ended up my friend and business partner before his untimely death aged 38.

During the time I knew him this is what he gave me: –

  • Inspiration: I couldn’t wait to be with him because of how he made me feel
  • Knowledge: he knew more then than I know now and he was utterly selfless in sharing what he knew with me and with others.
  • Experience: he liked me to have a go and was OK with me failing provided I learned from the experience.
  • Challenge: he wasn’t a great believer in comfort zones and the status quo. Always pushing and helping me realise my potential.
  • Confidence: he always believed in me and was never shaken by my many catastrophes.
  • Support: especially in the early days he was always there for me particularly when my confidence was low.
  • Motivation: I just wanted to do more for him.
  • Friendship: not really a prerequisite for a mentor but he gave me his anyway.

Since then I have had many mentors and each has provided one or more of the above. I have no doubt that a great deal of my success in business stems from the contribution these men and women made to my development over the years. Even better than that it hasn’t cost me a penny.

I hope I have repaid my debts down the line though (but you’d have to ask those I have tried to mentor of course) and I will continue to do so. I think it’s as important to give as it is to receive – be generous with what you know.

My advice then: if you don’t have a mentor seek one out that you can trust and who can help you become what you are capable of being. You won’t regret it and it will make a big difference to how successful you will be.

Why do it all yourself when there’s an easier way.


Passionate about making business development a profession not just a job. Built and sold a £40m group in less than 9 years. Doing it all again and loving it!

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Posted in Inspiration, Personal development
7 comments on “Is it really worth having a mentor?
  1. Emma Dredge says:

    I enjoyed reading this Mike, you were a mentor to me for over 9 years and still help and advise when you can. I have also recently took the step of signing up for a business coach and hoping this will fill the gap left by leaving full time employment and the mentors I had grown to love.

  2. Richard Raybould says:

    Good short review of what a quality mentor relationship provides. I think I will try and instigate the old Flair Buddy system at my company and start to get some mentoring going.

  3. […] Is it really worth having a mentor? ( […]

  4. Helen Thomson says:

    This is a really interesting article. The Law Society have set up a women lawyers division mentoring scheme which I was reading about only yesterday. Your article has made me think that maybe I should give this topic more thought. Thanks for sharing.

    • Mike Ames says:

      I can’t rave enough about the value of a good mentor or two Helen. I still have them now and get nothing but value from them. I’d love to hear how you get on with the Law Society group – well worth a go in my humble.

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Mike Ames

Passionate about making business development a profession not just a job. Built and sold a £40m group in less than 9 years. Doing it all again and loving it!

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