It’s easy to look at extremely successful people and not realize all the steps they took on their journey to the top. That’s true of financial success: If you’re like me, you’ve asked yourself questions such as, “How did they save the money for this gorgeous house or afford to retire early?” It’s also true of other types of success — how did Steve Jobs become the cultural icon of modern computing, for example?
I probably don’t have to tell you that the answers include hard work, inspiration, and a bit of luck. Most people realize those are common factors in success. But did you know success can also depend on having the right mentors and coaches?
The Power of a Good Mentor
Read about successful figures throughout history and you’ll find plenty of people that give credit, at least in part, to a mentor relationship. Bill Gates has said in interviews that Warren Buffet’s input was invaluable over the years, for example. And Steve Jobs had Mike Markkula, who you don’t often hear about. Markkula, along with Jobs and Steve Wozniak, was part of the core team that brought the Apple II to market.
Markkula had more business experience than the younger men. By the time he came to the Apple team, he had worked as an Intel product-marketing manager. He contributed in a number of ways to the success of the team, including acting as a mentor to Jobs and Wozniak.
Mentorship and coaching isn’t just for computer-making billionaires, though. According to a study titled “The Ideal Road Not Taken” by Thomas Gilovich and Shai Davidai PhD, accountability can increase your chances of reaching success by 77%. Accountability in this context means having someone who checks in with you on your personal goals.
It’s not the only study proving the benefits of accountability, either. According to research from the American Society of Training and Development, simply telling someone about your goal and making an agreement with them that you will do something leads to a 65% chance of success.
That jumps to 95% if you make a specific plan to meet with the other person to report on progress and be held accountable.
Is a Mentor Right for You?
What’s super exciting about these concepts is that you can apply them to financial planning. Whether you work with a professional financial planner or ask someone you trust to help hold you accountable, simply reaching out to someone makes it more likely you’ll save money, pay off debt or start building wealth for retirement.
Check out some of these common reasons people don’t draw on the power of coaching when it comes to managing money and why you might want to anyway.
- Money is private. We don’t talk about it, right? No. There’s a difference between TMI (too much information) to the public and honest, real discussions with people you trust or your professional financial management partners.
- You’ve made bad decisions and don’t want people to know. Every lender you work with, as well as some insurance and utility providers, landlords, and employers, might see the details of your credit history. Talking with someone you trust so they can help you make solid goals for the future and hold you accountable shouldn’t be harder than that.
- It’s your money Many people fear that in working with a coach, mentor or accountability partner, they give up some level of control. With the right accountability partner, the opposite is true. This person’s role isn’t to control what you do, but to help you do what you want to the best of your ability.
Whether you’re asking a trusted friend for help or investing in financial services, make sure your new accountability partner is willing to support you appropriately as you move toward financial independence and building wealth.
Still not sure if having a mentor is right for you? Reach out to us with any questions you have.