Mentoring entrepreneurs

I just come a mentoring session today with 4 entrepreneurs within education. They are 4 girls and one guy (the last girl couldn´t make it today). I´m going to be their mentor, but in a formal mentoring program.

The business idea is to make training for small kids and sell it to schools and kindergardens. It is a lot fun to meet them because they are so enthusiastic and willing to do almost everything you suggest. So today we had a two hours session about their businessplan and a presentation they are going to have on the 22. of september.

I am really looking forward to meet them again and work more with this brilliant idea.

Go Phi, Wenche, Hanne and Erlend.

Mentors and Mentoring: Being a Mentor

 (Part 3 of the Series)


In Part 1 of this series last week we looked at what a mentor is and does. In Part 2 we looked at ways to find a mentor. In this article, we will review some of the factors involved in becoming a mentor.


First Mentors

The former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Lew Platt, believes in the value of mentoring, In a letter addressing HP’s K-12 program, Platt sees "educating our children as both a business and a social imperative. After all, the young faces we see today are the faces of the workforce and customers of tomorrow." He recommends getting personally involved – "Speak to a class. Be a mentor for a student or teacher, either in person or by e-mail."

The State of California’s Resources Agency also has a mentor program that outlines the Qualifications of a Mentor, What Mentors Do, and What Makes You a Mentor that are all worth reading.


Adult Mentors
Mentors are common in educational settings. This University of Oregon site provides guidance in selecting a mentor as well as outlining the role and duties of the mentor.


Business Mentors

So what does it take to be a business mentor? It takes the same level of interest, commitment, and confidence in your own abilities that it takes to mentor a student. It also requires that you be sincerely interested in someone else’s growth. You won’t win any awards, but you will have the satisfaction of having done an important job.

Who becomes a mentor? Why do they do it? The answers are as varied as the people involved. Some of us were lucky enough to have had a mentor and want to repay that. Others just want to help out, be a positive influence, or give something to their community.

What ever your reason for being a mentor, you will find it a special experience. Nothing can quite match the self satisfaction you get from sharing your experience to help others.


Talk About It

Mentors and Mentoring: Finding a Mentor

(Part 2 of the Series)

In Part 1 of this series we looked at what a mentor is and does. If you have decided that a business or personal mentor could be a benefit to you, the link below will start you toward finding the right mentor.

Government Resources

Sometimes a government agency will offer to match entrepreneurs, or others in a Mentor Program which seeks to link those new in business with experienced business owners in a non-competing industry.

In the United States you can contact the SCORE Association (Service Corps of Retired Executives) for a free business counselor. The Department of Defense (DOD) has a Mentor-Protege Program too.


Sometimes you can find a mentor through a professional or trade organization to which you belong, or that you can join.

  • The Oak Ridge (Tennessee) Chapter of Professional Secretaries International has a mentoring program designed to help ensure active participation of all members in Chapter activities.
  • Another Australian site is Mentor Resources Of Tasmania, a mentor program sponsored by the Rotary International organization. It is designed for «keeping small businesses in business.»
  • The Culinary Institute of America also has its own mentor program.
  • Another mentor program to assist women is the Mentor Program of the Society of Women Engineers, Baltimore-Washington Section.
  • Marisol Productions has a great article that describes the types of relationships between mentors and proteges. It also talks about how to find a mentor.


Far and away the best place to look for a mentor, however, is right in front of you. Look around you at work. Is there an individual who you admire and respect? Someone who has always impressed you with their insight and preceptiveness?

Maybe your boss or your boss’s boss. Maybe it’s a Vice President in a different division. It could even be the older individual who isn’t currently a top executive of your firm, but who you know has lots of experience.

Approach that individual and ask if they would consider being your mentor. Depending on the individual, and your current relationship, your proposal will vary in the amount of detail and how it is delivered. At the very least, let them know what why you selected them and what you hope to learn from the assocation. If appropriate for the specific individual, you can also discuss amounts of time to be commited and what you will contribute.

Don’t put it off. What can you lose? Even if they decline to be your mentor, and few will, they will be flattered that you asked.


Do you have what it takes to be a mentor? Check the next article to find out what it takes to be a true guide and friend to another individual.

I’m ‘growing through other’

I’m so sick of leadership catchphrases. Irritable enough, is also right in the majority!

This morning I met with my mentee. And I was struck by the cliché is actually true: it is developing to be a mentor.

By mentoring, I have to think through how I do things and why. It is a bit embarrassing having to admit it, because I have developed allergies to all the clichés surrounding leadership and leadership development. But «I want to grow the second« it is so true.

A commentary by Catharina Nordlund from Sweden giving in the swedish leadership magazine

Mentors and Mentoring: What is a mentor?


A friend of mine called the other day to tell me he had been promoted to Engineering Manager for a large, national, environmental services and consulting firm. I shared his good news and thought to myself about the years we had worked together. I remembered the day I hired him as a field engineer, his first professional job.


He has worked hard to get where he is. He is intelligent and good with people. He was a quick study and I enjoyed sharing my experience and knowledge with him. I may have been his first mentor, but I wasn’t his last. Yet it got me to thinking about the importance of mentors.

I would welcome your thoughts and stories on this topic as well. Feel free to email them to me.


The original Mentor is a character in Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey. When Odysseus, King of Ithaca went to fight in the Trojan War, he entrusted the care of his kingdom to Mentor. Mentor served as the teacher and overseer of Odysseuss’ son, Telemachus.


The Merriam-Webster WWWebster Dictionary defines a mentor as "a trusted counselor or guide." For their Mentor/Protégé Program, the Anesthesiology Department of Cleveland’s MetroHealth System defines mentor as "a wise, loyal advisor or coach."



A mentor is an individual, usually older, always more experienced, who helps and guides another individual’s development. This guidance is not done for personal gain.


Mentoring is used in many settings. Although it is most common in business, we saw above its use in a medical setting at MetroHealth. It is commonly used in educational settings, especially with "at risk" students. It is also the basic principle behind the Big Brothers and Big Sisters programs.


One of the most valuable assets your career can have is a good mentor.

In subsequent articles we will look at ways to find a mentor, and the requirements you must meet if you want to be a mentor.


If you have any questions or comments about this article, or if there is an issue you would like us to address, please post them on this blog as a comment.

What To Talk About When There’s Nothing To Talk About

In the time-poor environment that we have created, mentorees are very concerned about wasting their mentor’s time. Mentorees are often hesitant to contact their mentor or schedule meetings when they have no burning issue to discuss. This is a mistake.

You might feel there’s no point meeting at times when you have no problems. When you are working toward longer-term goals and are progressing but have no current actions or outcomes to discuss, a meeting may seem unnecessary. And it’s easy to skip meeting if you are very busy with day-to-day activities and haven’t focused on your personal development since the last mentoring conversation.

It is good to have an agenda for mentoring conversations, even if it’s just a few bullet points, because it shows respect for the mentor’s time, it helps maintain focus and provides both parties with a sense of accomplishment and completion. However, a lack of an agenda should not stop a mentoring conversation. Mentors may need to take the lead to reassure their partner of their commitment because mentoring conversations when it seems «there’s nothing to talk about» may be vital.

No Problem
Mentoring conversations are not just about solving problems or making decisions. They are about the availability of a person, with whom to have a conversation that provokes creative and critical thinking. A key benefit of mentoring is the relationship. However, the relationship needs to be established and well maintained if problems or important decisions are to be confidently shared when they do arise.

Conversations about what is going well are extremely useful too. Celebrating success is not simply a feel-good exercise. The purpose of mentoring is to create and capture insight, then use it. Reviewing positive outcomes and satisfaction will reveal and reinforce the constructive behaviours that led to success and clarify personal values and priorities. By listening and questioning a mentor can facilitate much greater awareness and positive actions that will enhance the mentoree’s life.

Long-term Goals
People often use mentoring to identify career direction and work towards it. These goals are not usually achieved over night but as a result of specific actions over time. So naturally, there will be pauses between. In a mentoring program over a finite period, the early momentum can come to a halt after initial action steps are implemented. Some mentoring relationships can survive long gaps between contacts but some won’t. People wonder how best to get value in the interim.

It is useful to have a «default agenda» a standard format that produces constructive conversation. This could be as simple as reviewing the week/fortnight/month’s highlights and low points and accomplishments. The mentor may ask a series of questions that prompt reflection and learning, such as: «what’s working well for you, right now?» and «what could be improved?» My mentor asks: «what is your greatest challenge, right now?» A new, short-term goal and actions, or at least awareness and focus, often result.

Personal Development
No matter what qualifications, age or career stage one has achieved, on-going personal development is a must. Even if an individual development plan negotiated with a manager, linked to performance appraisal and formalised, taking personal responsibility for self-directed learning and development is essential. It is easy, to let the demands of day-to-day work and hectic life style get in the way of personal aspirations and our growth as a human being. If we lose sight of what is truly important, if we have no sense of purpose, life can become a meaningless round of chores interspersed with moments of instant gratification.

Mentoring conversations are all about discovering meaning and purpose – for mentors as well as mentorees. The mentor might share his or her own life-lessons and insights that led to personal development. This can be immensely valuable to both parties .

The social support offered by relationships, should not be underestimated in the too-busy life so many of us lead. When you don’t have time, or have nothing to talk about may be exactly the time to have a mentoring conversation! Investing time really communicating another human being, taking time out to pause and reflect or simply stoping to smell the roses (or the coffee) is never a waste of time! That’s how mentoring works.

The author of this article is Ann Rolfe, and was first published in 2010 on

How To Maintain The Momentum Of Mentoring

Mentoring program coordinators need to have ongoing communication with participants to stimulate engagement, motivation and answer questions or concerns. But how do you keep up the contact in a useful and interesting way? Many successful programs send regular Mentoring Works Tips.

Mentoring Tips could be one page, easy to read and practical. They should be designed for mentors and suitable for mentorees and managers. Consistently delivering Mentoring Tips:

  • Provides mentors with information, tools and motivation
  • Keeps mentorees engaged in the process
  • Informs managers of mentoring techniques and benefits


The author of this article is Ann Rolfe, and was first published 10. november 2010 on

A Good Mentor can be a Valuable Career Resource

Doris Appelbaum says in this article that a good mentor is a coach, always challenging you, inspiring you and demanding that you do your best.

Mentors can improve confidence and lead to job opportunities you had not considered. They are familiar with a range of professional opportunities and are guides who have put aside self-preoccupation to foster the growth of new professionals.

The best mentors help develop the insight and self-awareness that assist with integrating professional life, military life, personal concerns and core values.

To read the whole article,  click here:

Why isn`t everybody having a mentor?

It strikes me, time after time. Everywhere when I talk to people and for people about mentoring. Almost everyone is responding the same way, as a big question mark in their face. I want a mentor they say, and wondering how to get one.

I don`t think it`s easy to get a mentor outside a mentorprogram. Even when I am saying “just pick up the phone”. Call the man or women you want and let them know why you want them especially.
Tell him why and how much you admire this person.
Who do you think will turn you down???
Maybe it`s just me, but when someone calls me up, telling me what a great guy I am. And how much he or she admires me, I run to him…
So my hope for the future is to hear moore people at my seminar and trainings telling that “of course” I have a mentor… DHAAAAAAAAAAAAA…

Business Mentoring Works . . . Ask Rose

This is a very good example for a business mentors good work. For Entrepreneurs it should be an opportunity to get a mentor early in the business. They can help with a lot of things.

With her mentor’s help, Rose built a successful business loan application and qualified for the loan she needed to open the doors of her new store.

Read more here: