The Mentor’s role

The role of a mentor is to support and motivate. Mentors use their experience to inform and help entrepreneurs develop their entrepreneurial skills.

The mentor provides insights that will allow the mentee to better evaluate options for making good decisions. They quickly become a business confidant, allowing them to help mentee to get through difficult situations.

More specifically, the mentor:

  • Allows the mentee to break the isolation often experienced by businesspeople
  • Listens and asks questions
  • Reframes problems experienced by the mentee
  • Supports the mentee in determining possible solutions
  • Encourages and motivates
  • Shares their critical sense
  • Provides feedback on the mentee’s attitudes as an entrepreneur
  • Shares their experience through actual real-life examples
  • Respects the confidentiality of the exchanges

A role that should be clear

The role of mentor is often confused with the role of adviser, consultant, and coach. Yet, mentoring focuses on elements of well-being, while the other three focus on elements of knowledge and know-how.

  • Mentors support and motivate.
  • Advisers provide guidance.
  • Consultants make recommendations.
  • Coaches develop a specific skill.

These three types of professional resources have their own expertise in a specific area. They are called upon for their expertise and compensated to carry out a specific mandate or help reach a specific objective. Their services are usually for short-term business results.

The mentor does not:

  • Assist the mentored entrepreneur in the management of their business
  • Act as an adviser, consultant, expert in marketing, distribution, accounting or otherwise, or provide tailored solutions, advice or recommendations
  • Advise the entrepreneur or mentee on procedures to follow, whether in the form of an action plan to be implemented within their company or in the form of a curriculum to be followed as part of the relationship of support
  • Establish a business relationship (client, supplier or partner with the mentee)
  • Refer the mentee to their contact network
  • Receive compensation for their services