Who says mentoring is easy?

I have been asked to share my thoughts on coaching and mentoring of entrepreneurs. I am to share this to a group of aspiring mentors tomorrow. While I was driving back home, I was forced to stay put in a place for over 20 minutes due to traffic. During those solitary moments – my mind went over the last few interactions of this week and a barrage of thoughts hit me! Does the entrepreneur’s decision-making style differ based on his/her worldview? Should coaches / mentors understand this to be of help? Is it easy to know the worldview of your mentees?

In my role as researcher, teacher, consultant and coach, I come across a variety of entrepreneurs (aspiring and those who already are) almost on a daily basis. During these conversations we rarely miss talking about the reason for starting up the enterprise. Being entrepreneurial they have strong opinions and very fixed worldviews. But they are also very smart and fast learners. When such complex, motivated and aspiring individuals come for mentoring – the mentor needs to be prepared to handle the subtler aspects more than the scientific ones.

This week I met up two interesting entrepreneurs who stand as example for this fact. One has been forced into entrepreneurship because of a personal tragedy while the other is taking it up because his role is getting mundane. While one does not want to make a wrong decision, the other is fine to experiment. The former wants to take measured steps while the latter is exploring trends in their infancy. Though the entrepreneurial spirit in both of them seems equally inspiring – each one seems to be approaching opportunities differently. Each session demanded me to listen, view, measure and facilitate the discussions on their current and future opportunities differently. Both of them were sensitive to their situations, their views and still had to be shown the mirror. What greater benefit can a mentor bring to the table if not for this? This had to be done without becoming critical while keeping the truth alive.

How can I share this subtle learning with the group tomorrow? Jotting down my thoughts and learning from my own experiences and those of experienced coaches / mentors. Hope to have a lovely time tomorrow and share more refined thoughts post those discussions.


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