The background to mentoring The contents covered are: What is mentoring?How does mentoring fit into enterprise support?What is mentoring not?What is enterprise mentoring?What is the role of the enterprise mentor?What are the different types of mentoring relationship?Mentors ‘pull’ - they don’t pushMentoring in summary
The background to mentoring The aim of this section is to provide an insight into mentoring. It is intended to answer suchquestions as:• What is mentoring?• How does mentoring fit into enterprise support?• What is mentoring not?• What is enterprise mentoring?• What is the role of the enterprise mentor?• What are the different types of mentoring relationship?• Mentors pull - they don’t pushWhat is mentoring? word ‘mentor’ comes from the Greek myth in which the legendary king Odysseus went offTheto fight in the Trojan Wars, entrusting the care of his son to a friend called Mentor. The wordactually means ‘enduring’ and is usually used to describe a sustained relationship between anexperienced person and someone who is in the initial stages of their development. The word hasbecome synonymous with the idea of a trusted adviser - a friend, teacher, or wise person. TheOxford English Dictionary defines a mentor as an ‘experienced and trusted adviser’.
How does mentoring ﬁt into enterprise support? What is enterprise support? The term ‘enterprise support’ covers a wide range of activities that provide support for a business,whether it is already up and running or just starting out. Enterprise support gives the businessowner the help they need to start, live and grow - in other words, to survive and thrive.Outsiders can bring an objective eye to decision-making and sometimes see things the businessowner has missed. Decisions are always in the hands of the business owner, of course. A mentorcan be invaluable in guiding the business owner to identify the support they need, consider theiroptions and get new information. The mentor’s role is to be a trusted confidant, helping the menteeto make wise choices.Sources of enterprise support Support comes in many guises and from many different sources, from a quick chat with a friendwho has experience of running a business, to the formal support provided by a professionaladviser. Sources include:• online information portals such as businesslink.org.uk • local enterprise agencies• web-based forums and networking groups • local authorities• small business membership organisations • trade associations• accountancy practices • professional institutes• banks • colleges and universities• business consultancies • mentoring organisations.Types of enterprise support Mentoring is just one type of enterprise support, each of which is used in different circumstancesand for different reasons; a business may use a number of different types of support at the sametime. The mentor needs to be aware of the other types of support available so that they can pointthe mentee in the right direction if necessary.The main types of enterprise support are shown in this diagram. What they all have in common isthat the client - or mentee - is at the centre.
What is mentoring not? is important to keep a clear focus, otherwise a lot of time can be wasted on activities that aren’tItstrictly part of the mentoring brief. It’s not just a matter of time - it’s the mentor’s responsibility toperform a very specific role for the mentee and to be aware of what is and is not part of that role.The style of the process - for example, how formal or informal it is - is very much up to the mentorand mentee. However, there are some things that are definitely not part of the mentor’s role.• Acting as a parent. The mentee holds the reins, not the mentor. The mentor might sense that the mentee would like them to take control and ‘babysit’ them, in which case they should make it clear that the responsibility lies with the mentee.• Acting as a counsellor. The mentor is not the person to ‘fix’ things when the mentee needs help with a practical, personal or health problem. In such cases, the mentor should make sure they’re armed with some basic details of people/organisations who can help. Then they can pass these to the mentee and return to the business of mentoring.• An excuse for the mentee to moan. The mentor’s job is not to listen to the mentee’s problems, so if they arrive with a list of woes and expect to spend the session on these, the mentor should gently put them right and steer them in a more positive direction.• Being the mentee’s friend. That doesn’t mean the mentor should be completely detached - of course, they can be friendly! But this role means the mentor can be completely honest - perhaps sometimes even blunt - in a way that would be difficult for a friend. It’s important that the mentor doesn’t let the boundaries become blurred.• Dispensing discipline. Just as the mentor is not there to look after the mentee, they are not there to tell them off if they make a mistake or aren’t working hard enough. If the mentor notices the mentee isn’t pulling their weight, they should simply tell them so. The mentee’s success or failure is not the mentor’s responsibility - it’s their own.• Being a god. No matter how much experience and knowledge the mentor has, they are not expected to have all the answers. Their role is not to tell the mentee what to do, but to guide, support and encourage them to progress along their own path.
What is enterprise mentoring? effective enterprise mentoring relationship gives the mentee an opportunity to receive short-,Anmedium- or long-term personal and professional support. The relationship enables the mentee toexplore his or her personal and professional situation in order to develop goals that will havea positive impact on their business enterprise. The mentor should have the personal experienceand skills to give the enterprise owner the right level of support, but it is equally important forthe mentoring to be done in the most appropriate way. Mentoring is based on establishinga relationship based on equality, openness and trust. Above all, it should be very supportive.In a good enterprise mentoring relationship, the mentor encourages the enterprise owner to reflecton his or her own personal and professional experiences, and shares his or her own personal andprofessional experiences as well. In this way, the mentor supports the enterprise owner to devisenew or more effective ways to approach business problems and challenges.
What is the role of the enterprise mentor? enterprise mentor’s role is multi-faceted and requires good levels of skill and self-awareness.The• Enterprise mentors work with a wide variety of people in all sorts of markets, who have a wide variety of strengths and development needs. The mentor therefore needs to be able to adapt his or her style and behaviour to suit each mentee and each business situation.The mentor’s role is to guide the mentee to look at a wide variety of options and consideralternative courses of action in order to solve problems for themselves, rather than togive them answers or provide solutions.• For most mentoring relationships, the main objective is for the mentee to gain new personal skills, experiences and knowledge that will lead to new insights, a greater vision and new attitudes and behaviour. These, in turn, lead to better personal and business performance.The role of the mentor is to release and develop the mentee’s own resourcefulness.• It is not the place of a mentor to tell the mentee what they should do. Only the mentee can decide what goals or actions they will implement - after all, the mentee is the one who will live with the results. This does not mean the mentor should not offer useful information, but that it is up to the mentee to decide whether to use it. So mentoring does not mean giving advice. Giving advice implies the mentor ‘knows best’, and it also leads to dependency - the opposite of what the mentor is trying to achieve.
What are the diﬀerent types of mentoring rela@onship? Face-‐to-‐face, one-‐to-‐one mentoring The vast majority of mentoring is done face to face and usually on a one-to-one basis. This allowsthe mentor to focus 100% on the opportunities of the individual mentee. The advantage of face-to-face individual mentoring is that the mentor can gather an enormous amount of information fromboth verbal and non-verbal communication.Face-‐to-‐face group mentoring (peer mentoring) type of mentoring is becoming more popular in business mentoring. In this format, a smallThisgroup of between six and eight business owners come together to discuss their opportunities.The group acts as a sounding board, taking on the role of peer mentor, to help its individualmembers examine their issues from different perspectives. The advantage of this type of mentoringis that the group of peers can provide a number of different experiences and viewpoints to helpand support its members. In such situations, the actual mentor acts as a facilitator to the group.Telephone mentoring Telephone mentoring is usually part of a blended mentoring approach, used in tandem withface-to-face mentoring. It is provided on a one-to-one basis, so has the advantage of beingfocused on the mentee’s specific issues. This method is also extremely flexible.e-‐mentoring Like telephone mentoring, e-mentoring is often part of a blended mentoring approach butit can also be used on its own. It is provided on a one-to-one basis and has the advantageof being able to focus on specific issues. The mentee can also provide a lot more writteninformation than with other types of mentoring, which may allow the mentor more timeto consider the information before deciding on potential options for a course of action.
Mentors ‘pull’ -‐ they don’t push The following diagram shows the ‘pulling’ nature of the mentoring role.
Mentoring in summary Mentoring is:• a one-to-one relationship over a period of time between a less experienced person (mentee) and an established business person (mentor), which provides consistent support, guidance and practical help• a process by which an experienced business person shares their personal skills, knowledge and experience with another person• a means of enabling a less experienced person to gain the necessary skills, knowledge and confidence to be able to perform at a higher level• an opportunity for a less experienced person to gain access to impartial, non-judgemental guidance and support• a process of working together to achieve predetermined goals and objectives• a two-way process through which both parties derive satisfaction from the progress, and success is attained through working together.The mentoring relationship is voluntary for both parties and, although it is usually designedfor a set period of sessions, it may be ended at any time by either the mentee or the mentor.