What is Mentoring?
The traditional concept of business mentoring is to encourage the person being mentored to reflect on key issues facing them and encourage & support them to make the most of their business. This is done through questioning, active listening, sharing experiences and exploring different options. An action list is agreed upon at the end of each session and serves as one part of the agenda for the next (generally) two hour meeting. Any decisions taken must be 100% the business owners own. The buck has to stop with the owner. Giving advice is frowned upon as it can imply the mentor knows best and encourages dependency.
That definition of mentoring is why 1000’s of business mentors have been able to ‘qualify’ after only a half day course. In my view it is a good starting point but mentoring should be more than clever questions and exploring options. First of all each mentoring session needs to be designed around your specific needs. There is no ‘one size fits all’ meeting content. Starting or running a business is extremely difficult, sometimes lonely and very challenging. Often entrepreneurs feel that they should be good at everything and sometimes find it difficult to admit they are not! There is little time to stand back from the business to think about where it is going; often cash is running out; sleepless nights are common. A business mentor who has real experience of working in and with start-ups, small and large businesses is a whole other game. I’ve been in business for 40 years. I’ve seen a lot, done a lot and hopefully learned a lot. And I’m still learning.
My Approach – Mentoring Meetings
On the phone…
A FREE 30-minute Skype/FaceTime chat establishes whether we both think I can add value to your business.
During the conversation we’ll cover:
- Brief details about your business
- Where you think I can help
- Your goals, problems and opportunities
- What’s keeping you awake at night
- What mentoring is and isn’t
- What benefits we think I can bring to your business
At the first meeting…
If you want to go further we will have our first (paid) meeting where we will get to know each other & discuss your business in some depth.
Prior to the meeting I would like to:
- Read your Business Plan (if you have one)
- Go through any other background material covering areas like strategy, sales & marketing, financial performance, your product or service, operations, information about yourself or others working with you that you feel useful
- Look at your website, relevant social media & any other online material (if available)
- Ask you to reflect on issues such as your goals, problems & opportunities
- Get you to think about things you feel you do well and enjoy doing and those you don’t
Through discussion we will establish a clearer picture of what benefits I could bring to your business & how I can add most value for you. Remember though that mentoring is not running your business for you!
Even at this exploratory stage you should be seeing & feeling some benefit from the process. One of the outcomes from our first meeting is likely to be an agreed action list and progress on this will be picked up at the next meeting.
Finally I will ask you to sign a mentoring agreement, which covers such issues as the services provided, confidentiality, fees etc. I am obviously happy to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement as well if you feel it necessary. I also expect you to pay in advance of each meeting.
As the relationship develops…
We will review how our meetings are going on a regular basis and what value you are getting from the relationship. With your agreement I will be taking notes of our meetings so that I can send you a report after each session.
Our meetings should be stimulating, sometimes challenging but definitely fun. Trust and honesty are critical. My mentoring approach must make a positive difference for your business or it’s not worth doing.
Benefits for you…
- Develop pragmatic workable solutions to your everyday challenges & problems;
- Identify the real key issues facing your business & get to the essentials quickly;
- Work on longer term strategy as well as helping you ‘firefight’ the everyday;
- Support you in seeing ‘the wood from the trees’ of your business as well as different perspectives;
- Explore options and identify priorities for action;
- Help you appreciate what you do well and not so well;
- Work with you on people and development issues;
- Help you to be better motivated and more confident.
What Makes Me Different?
I combine traditional mentoring skills with coaching and business advice (where appropriate) as well. My broad business experience means that my mentoring covers far more areas than the traditional mentoring relationship. That combination will add significant value to your business.
The Chinese draw a distinction between feeding a person a fish and thus feeding them for a day and teaching a person to fish and therefore feeding them for life. Clearly the latter is most important.
Contact me to arrange a free 30 minute Skype/FaceTime chat