Support clients by business mentoring
This is extracted from a guide by Small Firms Enterprise Initiative (SFEDI)
This is about mentoring clients to help them identify their personal development to achieve their business goals, and supporting clients in achieving them. It involves establishing a good client relationship, helping clients identify needs and priorities, providing encouragement and support to help clients maintain their motivation and carry out their plans and encouraging clients to act for themselves.
What you need to show
You must make sure that your practice meets the following requirements:
a Make sure your clients understand your role as a mentor, how it differs to other business support roles and agree with them the goals and rules of the mentoring process, and how long it will last.
b Help clients to express and discuss ideas and any concerns about their business situation, needs and progress, without judging them and give them feedback.
c Encourage clients to explain clearly what they want to achieve and to compare their needs and abilities with current business practices.
d Recommend and agree in detail a programme of activity which best meets your clients’ needs and agree with them how often to review progress and in how much detail.
e Encourage your clients to develop the confidence, understanding and skills needed to meet their personal and business objectives.
f Present new information to clients in a way that they are able to understand and that is relevant to their needs.
g Recognise when you are giving business advice and no longer mentoring, and act appropriately.
h Help clients review progress, and set a realistic range of options to meet their needs and goals and understand how, and whether, the options are practical.
i Help clients reflect on and learn from things that did not turn out as expected.
j Refer clients to relevant sources of information, advice or further support, as they need them and where relevant plan how it will be provided and evaluated.
k Present a positive image of business mentoring, and follow the code of ethics for mentoring set by the organisation you represent, behaving in a way that shows you are willing to help your clients and will respect their confidentiality.
l Encourage clients to use new points of view when evaluating, considering and using information to improve their own skills and the performance of their business.
m Help clients take more and more responsibility for setting their goals and encourage them to make their own decisions, make plans, prioritise actions and put these into practice.
n Keep up-to-date and accurate records of client contact.
What you need to know and understand
You need to know, understand and be able to apply each of the following:
Principles of mentoring:
1 What your role as a business mentor is and how it is different from other business support.
2 What the code of ethics for mentoring is that is set by the organisation you represent and how to work within the requirements and policies of the mentoring scheme in which you are involved.
3 What the rules on confidentiality and data protection are, and how to follow them.
4 The different reasons clients might have for starting or running a business, and how these will affect their goals.
5 What rules to set for the mentoring process. These might be about how often to meet, the places and times to meet, what to do if someone can’t make a session, confidentiality, involving other work colleagues, or dealing with problems.
6 How to identify and agree a contract for mentoring.
7 What resources and facilities are likely to be needed for the mentoring process.
8 How your behaviour is different when you are advising instead of mentoring, how to recognise this and the effect it will have on the mentoring relationship with your clients.
9 The range and limits of different communication methods (for example, face to face, phone, fax, e-mail and body language).
10 How different people learn.
11 create an environment in which clients will feel at ease.
12 make the mentoring experience effective for different clients.
13 identify when the relationship has reached a natural end and end it successfully.
14 gain and maintain clients’ enthusiasm, commitment and trust.
15 listen uncritically so as to identify clients’ real situations, problems or needs.
16 question and check with clients what they have understood from you.
17 share information, ideas and arguments patiently and tactfully.
18 inspire confidence, persistence and realism.
19 build long-term relationships.
20 give, receive and pass on feedback.
21 sort out any difficulties and reduce conflicts and differences as far as possible.
22 manage your time and activities.
23 show respect for and sensitivity to the needs and feelings of other people.
24 avoid bias, preconceptions and judging.
25 recognise the effect of your own actions and behaviour on other people.
26 present yourself positively to other people.
27 stay calm in difficult or uncertain situations.
28 handle other people’s emotions without becoming personally involved in them.
Supporting clients’ development:
29 What clients’ personal goals are. Goals can be specific problems with the business or broader personal and business targets.
30 What further sources of support may be relevant to clients and how to recommend them.
31 How different clients have different learning preferences and limits and what they are.
32 help clients identify or develop practical and affordable solutions.
33 develop clients’ self-confidence.
34 help clients review and develop skills that will improve how competitive their business is.
35 develop clients’ personal skills so they can develop the business for themselves.
36 encourage clients to express themselves and take action to meet their goals.
37 help clients accept and manage change.
You need to be able to:
38 respect the client’s need for information, commitment and confidentiality. IiP1.3
39 listen and respond effectively, and check understanding. IiP4.3
40 adapt your personal style to empathise with a whole range of clients. IiP6.1
41 build and maintain rapport over sustained periods. IiP6.2
42 invite a two-way exchange of information and feedback with clients and others. IiP6.3