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Strategic Mentoring

Strategic Mentoring

The Seven Secrets of Mentoring that the Experts Don’t Want you to Know

The concept of mentoring originates in Greek mythology in Homer’s Odyssey – Mentor, was the teacher of Odysseus’ son, Telemachus. Since the early 1990’s there has been rapid growth in the business mentoring and coaching market, with explosive growth in the franchised sector.  Due to a lack of professional standardization within the industry, there has been a blurring of the distinction between business coaching and mentoring.

No single definition or model uniformly fits the situations in which Mentoring is practiced, however, the corporate mentor acts as guide, adviser and frequently confidante able to work across diverse environments such as Business to Business, Special needs and Community projects, Business to Enterprise, Business to Education, Board Mentoring, Personal Programmes.  Coaching is broadly defined as a programme of instruction, training or teaching whereas a mentor is recognized as an experienced and trusted adviser.

What should the mentee seek from a mentor?

A successful strategic mentor should offer a balanced approach to your individual and business development needs.

  1. Inspiration and motivation are words frequently linked to the term mentoring and indeed the ability to employ these skills effectively is the challenge of every successful mentor.
  2. In the context of strategic business mentoring the mentor’s ability to objectively challenge and probe the core values underpinning business results alongside the key business goals and challenges enables the business executives/mentee to more clearly define the critical success factors required to attain competitive advantage and thereby increase profitability.
  3. Enlightened executives engage a mentor who provides objective challenge, support and development to the senior team via the employment of practical skills and techniques thus deriving maximum benefit resulting in the delivery of positive bottom-line impact.
  4. A strategic mentoring programme, whether compiled for a team of senior executives or an individual has to be personal to the mentee.  By design, the relationship built throughout the programme will be evolutionary.
  5. The skill of the mentor in achieving a successful agreed outcome will require vigilance in recognising the preparedness of the mentee to move through the programme in a timely manner.
  6. Value based decisions assist the mentee to identify the motives that underpin the preferred course of action to influence their professional direction and personal lives.

What are the key success factors to a strategic mentoring programme?

When considering a suitable business mentoring programme make sure it has the seven vital ingredients to ensure your success

  1. Analyse Your Business Goals: For strategic mentoring to work, you have to examine your business goals in addition to your personal goals.  Some mentors’ focus neglect to deliver on both these fronts.
  2. Understand Board Sponsorship: Ignore these relationships at your peril.  In order for you to be successful in delivering the business goals, your mentor has to help you understand your relationships with other board members and business stakeholders
  3. Set Career Goals and Direction: Are your career goals and direction set in a framework that aligns to the strategic plans of the business and your longer term career vision?
  4. Mentoring Models: Is your mentor transferring their knowledge to help you become a better manager or leader as either a coach or a  mentor?  Does your mentor offer a competence model on how to improve your own coaching or mentoring skills?
  5. Help People to Learn How to Learn:
    • You have made the significant step to improving your own self-development by hiring the services of a mentor.
    • What are you doing to help the rest of your organisation develop a thirst and hunger for self managed learning?
    • Your mentor can work with you to develop strategic plans to help your staff self-develop too.
    • Be Aware of Individual Differences. We are all different, and a prescriptive approach to understanding your needs may result in a programme that will not maximise your potential learning.
    • Do they truly understand your beliefs and values?  Prescriptive processes frequently hide the fact that the mentor may not be capable of   customising the programme to fit the mentee’s need.
  6. Feedback that Builds Confidence and Success:
    • Does your mentor have the confidence in you to help you visualize successful performance?
    • Has your mentor demonstrated their scope and breadth of business acumen and personal development to give you confidence that they are able to help you harness your skills and attain your goals – do you believe they are able to stretch your mental abilities?

If you would like to find out more about how business or personal mentoring could help build your personal profile and unleash the true potential of your business then please contact

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