Entrepreneurial Mentoring: Cultivating the Art, a pilot workshop for CYBF mentors delivered in partnership with Ryerson’s The Chang School for Continuing Education was a great success!

Mentors participated in an engaging workshop instructed by Dr. Sean Wise, Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy at Ryerson University in Toronto, and explored:

  • The roles of a mentor;
  • An assessment and discussion on mentors’ individual mentoring styles;
  • Mentoring best practices;
  • Common assumptions and myths about mentoring relationships.

What are our take-aways? Here are just a few teasers:

Insights into the role of a mentor

Have you ever been described as a “wing person,” someone who helps build entrepreneurs’ confidence through your presence and support? One mentor said this role is useful especially when attending networking sessions together.

How often do you take on the role of the “anti-yes person,” and challenge your entrepreneur’s conclusions? What are the implications when this role is played out in extreme? When and how often do you practice tough business love, play the devil’s advocate, or become the ‘yes mentor’ and just allow the entrepreneur to make the mistakes s/he needs to make?

Are these roles in your mentoring repertoire? Which roles do you believe are fundamental to entrepreneurial mentoring?

Mentoring styles

Mentors completed a mentoring style assessment and discussed which styles they naturally gravitate towards.  They also identified situations when each style would be most appropriate.

Which one or two of the following best characterize your mentoring style?

1)     Letting go: allowing for an organic unfolding to the conversation/relationship.

2)     Active listening: allowing the entrepreneur to take the lead.

3)     Advisory: identifying alternatives and options.

4)     Prescribing: telling the entrepreneur how to handle challenges/situations.

5)     Cooperative: taking a joint approach to problem-solving.

What are mentors asking entrepreneurs?

1)     What does success look like for you?

2)     You are a finalist for the Entrepreneur of the Year FuEL award. Tell me your business story that will be profiled across Canada.

3)     If you were me, what’s the one question you would ask?

4)     What do you need to “start,” “stop” and “continue” doing?

5)     Why aren’t you doing as well as you would like to, and what are you learning from this experience?

6)     What is your biggest challenge and how can I help?

What was the consensus?

All CYBF mentor attendees found the workshop insightful and described their experience as engaging, collaborative and stimulating.

Interested in honing your mentoring skills?  Stay tuned for more professional development opportunities in entrepreneurial mentoring!

By Linda Morana, Mentor-in-Residence, lmorana@cybf.ca

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