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Mar 18, 2016

Mentoring: If you only do 6 things

For many students, The Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme is their first taste of business, and they may have little understanding of the realities of the market or the complexity involved in turning their ideas into action.


If you only do these 6 things as a mentor you are going to be providing practical help to any YES team. 

1. Be Inquisitive

You will learn more about the team and their dynamics and motivations by demonstrating a genuine interest them. This also builds rapport and trust with the team. 


2. Be positive

Take a supportive, motivational approach. Help them by staying positive and encouraging them to keep looking for solutions to problems that arise. 


3. Set clear expectations

Be honest and make your expectations clear. This is especially important around communication such as email, phone and text and with scheduling meetings. Letting students know your boundaries and expectations helps avoid problems down the track.


4. Be aware of the bigger picture

It’s important to realise students have other NCEA subjects or sports commitments which can take them out of the business and be disruptive.  Unlike many start-ups, students are not full-time entrepreneurs and not reliant on the income to put food on the table. YES is an experiential education programme, not a business incubator programme. Staying aware of what is going on in the bigger picture for students will help you keep perspective.


5. Share your experience

You have much to offer which the students can really benefit from. Share your experiences and be open about the mistakes you have made and learned from. It’s ok to give them your opinion and provide an opposing view.


6. Remember - it’s their business

It’s their business and they should feel they own it. You will need to recognise those times when you need to step back and let them own their ‘thing’ and make their own mistakes. The lessons learned here could be ones that stay with them for their life!