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Start up stage

Your time is spent on:

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•      Developing the concept for the business.

•      Identifying the possible target markets that will buy the learner’s product/service.

•      Figuring out how you’re going to make the product.

•      Developing the brand.

•      Setting up the business.

•      Sourcing finance.

Growth stage

Your time is spent on:

•      Producing the product, delivering the service.

•      Finding new customers.

•      Developing new products.

•      Building and managing your team.

•      Managing money – what you owe to who, who owes what to you.

•      Implementing systems.

•      Business coaching for a business in growth stage.

Maturity stage

Your time is spent on:

•      Managing the team.

•      Managing and maintaining clients.

•      Improving efficiency and effectiveness across all areas of the business.

•      Protecting your market position and your ‘cash cow’.

•      Protecting your business IP and assets.

•      Business coaching for a business in maturity stage.

Renewal stage

Your time is spent on:

•      Managing existing clients.

•      Identifying new opportunities for new/extended products and markets.

•      Reinventing, repositioning, rebranding.

•      Restructuring, recruiting and managing your team.

•      Acquiring new clients.

•      Protecting your business IP and assets.

•      Business coaching for a business in renewal stage.

Harvest/exit stage.

Your time is spent on:

•      Succession planning.

•      Looking to sell the business.

•      Valuing the business.

•      Transferring the business.

•      Finding a new different use.

•      Wealth creation / realization / enjoyment.

 

4/ Hints and tips; what to do and what not to do

Plan and prepare

         Take time to plan before the meeting (to ensure that you are clear about what is expected of you in this meeting, what you were meant to have done beforehand and what the key areas might be for discussion at the meeting.) A correct preparation will ensure that the time you have together is best used and not spent agreeing what it is that you will discuss.

Be clear about roles

         Be very clear about what you will and won’t do for the learner. This will be part of the initial contract but it will also be worth reminding the learner as time goes along, so that they are not relying on you to do all the work. Initially you may want to be more directive and more involved but ultimately you want them to be empowered to make their own contacts, take their own actions and do things without you (despite you are beside them in surveillance mode).

Set and measure clear outcomes

         How will you know whether you are doing a good job, unless you agree with the learner what they want to achieve and then review/measure throughout the relationship how they are achieving against these targets? Mentoring or coaching is not just an opportunity to discuss things with more senior people and to learn a little about ourselves but also to tackle and achieve some personal challenges. It is important to agree some realistic goals early, to set the focus of the relationship, even if these do change over time. A PDP is a helpful way of doing this.

Focus on opportunities, not problems

         Although mentoring is about helping learners with their problems, it is also about helping them identify their strengths and development needs and then to identify and manage opportunities to develop them. It is important to ensure that the conversations are not just based around problem solving of immediate business issues and are focused on the individual and their wider career concerns.

Keep appropriate records

         It is important for both parties to keep records of what was discussed and agreed and what is to be achieved for the next meeting. This does not have to be on any additional formal documentation but it is helpful to have a small list to review at each session – this then is helpful when reviewing what is being gained from the relationship, at a later date.

Establish and re-establish rapport

         If two people do not ‘click’ in the first two meetings, it is unlikely that the mentoring relationship will carry on as effectively as it might and it is important to remember that not all mentoring relationships will work out. It is very important to recognise this early, so that the pairings can be changed, to ensure that the learner is linked up with someone that they are more compatible with. This does not show a failing on the mentor’s part, in fact quite the opposite as changing the pairings early will ensure mentoring success in the longer run.

Make time

         All mentoring relationships suffer from lack of time and diary pressures. People often chosen as mentors are the ones that are in most demand and so have even more pressure on their diaries and time. It is important that as mentors that you commit to giving up a certain amount of time each week and that you want to do this – forcing yourself to meet your mentor when you have other things on your mind, will not be helpful for either of you. Good mentors are willing to invest the time in developing other people and feel that it is an excellent use of their time and so block out time easily for this.

Encourage independence

         Dependency is unhealthy for both parties. In the long run, the hope of any successful mentor is to ensure that your learner has the confidence to go it alone and to achieve their career aspirations without you. It is unhealthy to do everything for the learner (although they might be grateful for this at the beginning of your relationship) as ultimately you will be developing an individual to do as you do and not to think independently, without you. When you then suggest closing the formal relationship, this could cause more issues for the learner that you may have solved during your relationship.

Recognise that all good mentoring relationships come to an end

         A good indication of when to finish a relationship is when the learner has achieved their short and medium term goals and is operating quite independently or one or both parties feel that the relationship is no longer beneficial to them. This is a good sign and will indicate to the mentor that they have done a sound mentoring job, as the learner is now more able and more confident about creating their own opportunities for the future.

 

‘It is essential that every mentoring relationship is seen from the start as a temporary alignment. Elements of it may exist, in the form of mutual aid and friendship, for many years after, but there must be clear starting and finishing points.’

Clutterbuck 2004

 

5/ Checklist and observation grids

 

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5-1 Reflective Notes

         When you replay client sessions in your mind, here are some questions which might help you explore what was going on in the coaching space:

•      What is happening outside the coaching space that could impact on what you are the two of you are thinking and feeling? (In the world, the organisation, the weather, the news …).

•      What are you bringing with you into the coaching space? What assumptions are you making? What do you notice about your response to this client?

•      What is going on for your client? What do you see, hear, sense? What do you notice about your client’s energy levels and well-being?

•      What is unfolding in the coaching space? What are you doing that enables the work? What is working well? What is getting in the way?

•      Did the learner know new things at the end of the conversation?

•      Think about pace and challenge and trust

•      What might you develop?

•      What is coming to the surface as you replay the session in your mind?

         Silent supervision also helps to go beyond the content of a session to create greater awareness.

         Bring to mind a client with whom you’ve recently worked and a particular session you’ve had with this client.

•      What words come into your mind as you recall your client’s presence? How do they look, sound, smell, hold their bodies?

•      What thoughts are you holding onto about this client?

•      What feelings are you holding onto about this client?

•      Who does the client remind you of?

•      What is your best hope for coaching this client?

•      What is your worst fear about coaching this client?

•      What does this client need from you as their coach?

•      What do they really need from you as their coach?

•      What will it take for you to be the best coach you can be for this client?

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