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The Mentor's Role

The Path to Success in Mentoring

Good Mentors know how to get the best out of people. Their Leadership skills have made them aware of what works best in leadership and how to refine and improve the right skills and knowledge - just like all art forms. Leadership is not for everyone; people have their own unique skills and should employ them accordingly.  Leaders often have to make decisions that others can't or won't make. To succeed, Leaders must keep themselves well-briefed, up to date and current when it comes to what they do.

To develop a close professional and trusting partnership with a Mentee, we must gain trust, which only comes over time and must be built, not assumed. Initial conversations should be open and wide-ranging, focussing on what needs to be done immediately rather than too far in the future. We must establish a professional relationship early on and work closely together to create a Team of Two! Their combined skills and knowledge are put into practice to examine the Mentee's objectives and create a Leadership Development Plan.  Once agreed, this becomes a powerful tool, with now two Leaders working as one!  

The Mentor's Role

Is to listen, remain flexible (often Mentees have different methods of reaching their goals), be curious (because that is a measure of interest), a straight talker who will share with the Mentee if they think the Mentee is taking unnecessary risks, or perhaps is in danger of doing something that is not in the Mentee's best long-term interest.

A good Mentor runs away from nothing - as a Leader, they know what it's like at the hot end of a furnace. So select one who has felt the heat and with a proven track record; they should have a diverse portfolio of running organisations of different sizes, in a variety of sectors, and preferably Internationally!  Leadership is not a sport! It requires both width and depth - from Leading people to driving change, communicating well, building trust, and never quitting to deliver results.​

An experienced Mentor will take the Mentee's strengths and direct them towards what needs to be done to achieve success. They should have broad business experience that may include closing down businesses, starting new ones, launching new products and services, Leading the turnaround, and in the process, having to hire and fire people.  The Mentee can lean on the Mentor's wide experience so together they can decide which is the most appropriate approach to a particular challenge. Leaders understand that the world is comprised of people with different personalities, just like their own! They recognise Leadership skills in people that others may consider disruptive.  

They also have to be responsible people with a track record of achieving results and will be selective in whom they wish to Mentor and would rather turn away from those they believe they cannot help. They will carry out due diligence on their Mentee's background and personal track record and encourage Mentees to do the same.  

Challenging the Mentee's resolve and commitment is important as stickability is a vital part of Leadership. The Art of Leadership needs resolve, and perseverance and the Team of Two need both!

The Mentee's Role

Mentees must have a good understanding and technical knowledge of their industry and markets and enjoy what they do; otherwise, they will not become Leader! The Mentee's role is to listen to the Mentor’s advice and then act on what has been agreed. There is no point in having a Mentor you ignore. Remember, the objective is to help make you a Leader, and Leaders never forget what has been agreed!  

The Mentoring process takes time as the Team of Two needs to build trust and confidence. The early part of the Mentoring process is usually quite time-consuming. However, time invested in the early stages is well spent as it will establish a good working relationship that will gain agreement on clear, achievable goals for the Mentee. As trust builds, the time spent together can gradually reduce as the process moves from a meeting of minds to you getting it done!

You should select someone interested in you, your business and your markets. Remember, Leadership is an Art and must be learnt and practised. Leaders learn quickly when they want to!

Mentoring succeeds when the Mentee achieves the agreed goal.

Your Team of Two 

Mentor and Mentee have to get aligned and focus on the Mentee's objectives. A Mentor will be someone you have the utmost respect and confidence in, acting as the temporary team captain of your Team of Two and bursting to hand the captaincy over to you as quickly as possible! 


"If you are not the lead dog -
the view never changes."

from  'it does matter'

Check-list for
Team of Two

Get to know each other

Be open and straightforward

Achieve an early success

Build trust by getting it done

Play to each other’s strengths

Utilise other resources that help 

Enjoy working with each other

Try something new together, often

Measure progress - regular reviews

Remain flexible - open to new ideas

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"Despite some setbacks, you kept your chin up, determined to be successful. I really liked your desire to stand alongside your employees, working as a team, instead of remaining in your office and giving orders.  I was not surprised to learn that 'retirement' was not on your agenda, and you still enjoy helping those who come to you for support in their aspirationsI found your book 'it does matter' interesting, and I look forward to the next episode!"


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