Friday, July 30, 2010

just because everyone seems to be at it doesn't mean you should...

So – mentoring. Everyone seems to be at it these days: Unltd Connect are running a national scheme, there’s the Mowgli Foundation if you prefer something a bit more international, and Social Enterprise North West are running a programme that will accredit your mentor in the process!

But is mentoring worth it?

Undoubtedly yes – the chance to share some of a mentee’s infectious enthusiasm and the chance for mentors to help to short-cut processes and learning, and sometimes even save a venture from failure by sharing hard-earned lessons elsewhere can only be a good thing.

But it comes at a cost. As mentors, we need to be able to keep paying the bills and mentoring doesn’t usually pay well (if at all) in terms of cash. As mentees – don’t forget you’ve also got an enterprise to keep running and developing: don’t neglect your own customers; your mentors might be more enjoyable company, but we don’t actually pay you any money…

As for me – I still prefer my own model of mentoring: “beer mentoring”


  1. I like that idea Adrian, 'Beer Mentoring', it's something I know my partner does frequently when he's talking to people about how they could be better public speakers and I must admit I do it, but over a coffee or two normally.

  2. Mentoring shouldn't be about the money, it should be about what we can give back. Certainly as a co-operative, it's about co-operating with co-operators. SENW do recognise the time mentors put in and provides a little cash for those that make the qualification but this isn't sustainable and really, is not what it should all be about. It is also a very guided/restrictive? programme - good for some and not for all. Beer Mentoring does sound good and I do indeed meet my own mentor, a brewery employee, at a local pub. Being from a different sector, mentors can offer a very different view of business, one that for the best part I shield my eyes from. IT is one that makes up most of the world though, which I can't ignore and can indeed learn from. I applaud this mentor for giving up his time for nothing.

  3. Mentoring to my mind is not a one -way process. As a mentor I've found the conversations helpful and made me reflect on various issues and so i would argue that there can be benefits for the mentor as well.

    I'd agree with Fiona there are major advantages to having someone from a different sector