The Role of A Mentor, Like As In Sports As In Entrepreneurship

Sports and entrepreneurship are no different. Both of these require a coach and a mentor that will help an athlete or an aspiring entrepreneur reach their full potential and achieve success.

The sight of Vitezslav Vesely’s last javelin throw landing at 85.54 m, made the nation of 1.3 billion jump in elation. It sealed the gold medal win of 23-year-old debutant Neeraj Chopra and India’s first medal in track and field event in the Olympics. His magnificent throw of 87.58 m fulfilled the wishes of Late Milkha Singh and India’s only female sprinter P.T. Usha, who missed out on a medal by a whisker. 

A lot goes into the making of a successful athlete. Behind Neeraj’s golden throw we cannot deny the contribution of his Coach Uwe Hohn and former Coach Klaus Bartonietz. In a recent media appearance of Neerja Chopra, on asking how much he owed this journey and success to his coaches, he replied that a coach plays a pivotal role in the making of an athlete and one cannot do it alone. A coach during the entire training period dedicates his time to creating the best training schedules, diet planning, body fitness and endurance plans and most important the technique. 

Neeraj’s childhood coach recalls that he made Neeraj train with the long-distance runners to gain adequate strength for the run-up while throwing javelin that determines the distance. Coming to developing a business, there are parallels between sports and entrepreneurship. What a coach is to an athlete is a mentor to an entrepreneur. A coach helps an entrepreneur discover its positives and abilities and helps him navigate challenges. 

How can one find the right mentor? 

While selecting a mentor an individual must create a checklist of skills and attributes that he/she would seek in a mentor. An entrepreneur should keep in mind that the needs of the mentee also change over time. The same was for Neeraj Chopra, there was no doubt in Klaus’s coaching, but Neeraj believed that he needed a change in his training for breaking into the international events. It was Hohn for Neeraj who helped him win gold at the 2018 Asian Games and Commonwealth Games and set a new national record. Different mentors will bring in a unique set of skills and different approaches to a problem, so here the onus lies on the mentee.


A coach plays a pivotal role in the making of an athlete and one cannot do it alone.

Five reasons why a mentor is necessary for an entrepreneur

Many individuals perceive that only passion can drive them to become successful entrepreneurs, which is true but not sufficient. An aspiring entrepreneur is unaware of the problems ahead and does not know how to dodge them effectively, which is why we need mentors. 

Helps you accomplish your goals 

The mentor can help an aspiring entrepreneur stay focussed on the goals and makes one accountable for the vision of your business. A mentor guides an entrepreneur in making new strategies in achieving new targets and helps in developing a business or marketing plan. Neeraj under former coach Klaus- a bio-mechanic expert trained him to maintain the right body form and technique. Be it shot put, discus, or hammer throw, knowing bio-mechanics is crucial, without which an athlete might injure oneself.  

Gain experience from mentor’s challenges

A mentor who has made mistakes or countered challenges, but was not able to avoid or overcome them due to lack of skills adds to the experience and learning. Now, that the person is a mentor, can provide guidance to the individual for devising out strategies and plans to avoid such mistakes in the first place itself and if faced, the individual will now be well-equipped and moulded to tackle it. This is something that cannot be taught from books. 

Networking opportunities 

Start-ups and small businesses for early-stage funding become easier when they are recommended by their mentor as they gain the trust of investors. A good mentor has unlimited network contacts of investors and venture capitalists. Since mentors are already investing their time and energy in training you, they can help your business make in-roads in the investor’s community. This is an opportunity one cannot tap into if one does not have a mentor.

Fuels positivity and encouragement 

Failure is part and parcel of both sports and business. Lack of proper encouragement and a positive mindset tend to impede productivity. A mentor who has experienced the same highs and lows in running a business can fuel positivity and soothe your mind with words of motivation. In Mahabharata, when Arjuna was required to battle with his teacher, grandfather, and cousins, Krishna became his mentor to guide him about fulfilling his duties. 

Helps to build a stronger emotional quotient 

In sports, coaches guide their players to regulate their emotions during critical stages of the game by employing strategies to remain in control. Similarly, a mentor for an aspiring entrepreneur helps build high emotional intelligence leveraging which they develop qualities of empathy, problem-solving, and social skills to come up with solutions, create strong relationships, and win people over.

Shalmoli Sarkar
Shalmoli Sarkar
An MBA in marketing and a BTech in chemical engineering, Shalmoli writes on marketing strategies and business technology for new and aspiring entrepreneurs.



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