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Best Practice Toolkit

The dos and don’ts of mentoring

There are some basic rules to being an effective mentor. If you follow these, you are likely to develop a good mentoring relationship that will reap results.


  • Provide an outside perspective on both the business owner and their business
  • Listen, confidentially, to the issues that are worrying the business owner about their company
  • Help by sharing your own experiences of both failures and successes
  • Give friendly, unbiased support and guidance
  • Provide honest and constructive feedback
  • Be a sounding board for ideas
  • Facilitate decision making by suggesting alternatives based on personal experience
  • Supply contacts and networks to further personal and business development
  • Inspire the client to realise their potential
  • Give ongoing support and development
  • Where appropriate, seek advice or refer mentees to another point of contact
  • Highlight any ethical issues that may arise


  • Provide a counselling service
  • Give specific technical business advice that would normally be provided by an expert business adviser
  • Supply a training service
  • Provide a coaching service (relating to specific business-related tasks, goals and objectives)
  • Provide therapeutic interventions
  • Take responsibility for success away from the business owner
  • Intrude into areas the mentee wishes to keep private
  • Create dependency