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What makes a great mentor?

Mentoring is becoming widely recognised as an effective and cost efficient way of helping small businesses and entrepreneurs in your striving and thriving periods of start-up and growth.


Whilst the initial concept of a mentor is usually 'a more experienced person sharing their wealth of experiences and knowledge with a lesser experienced individual,' the truth is a Mentor can also gain new insight, knowledge and behaviours through the mentoring process. 


The difference between a good mentor and a great mentor is how you spot the early warning signs of when the mentoring relationship is no longer viable and of no further benefit to you or your mentor.


Here are 10 codes of conduct we advocate at MBL Academy to help our clients choose between a good mentor and great mentor in order to ensure the best match.


A good mentor will:- 


1.    Always Listen and seek to understand

2.    Be a sounding board for new ideas

3.    Give friendly unbiased support and guidance

4.    Share their own experiences (with permission) of their own successes and failures

5.    Establish clear boundaries with the mentor


A great mentor will do all the above and in addition:-

6.    Reveal ‘blind spots’ to expose potential opportunities or risks through critical questioning

7.    Stretch and challenge the mentee out of their comfort zone

8.    Encourage and provide ongoing support to the mentee

9.   Paraphrase and summarises what the mentee has said

10. Give constructive feedback 


Unfortunately when a mentor has not received the proper training the mentoring relationship can run into problems  and potentially harm the mentee’s progress. So if you come away from a mentoring session feeling deflated, demotivated, talked at or scolded then these can be possible signs of toxic mentoring. 


Be aware if your mentor does display the following behaviours:-


  • Acts as a parent - telling you what you should and should not do for your business  

  • Acts as a counsellor - consistently reflecting back on historic business failures

  • Colludes by creating a moaning or negative environment during your mentoring session

  • Punishes or undermines the mentee for not following their advice

  • Does most of the talking, and displays self-importance to the mentee


There is a clear line between what is mentoring and what is not.  To learn more take a look at our Level 5 Mentoring SFEDI Qualification.

Further information

If you have any queries about your current or future mentoring requirements, or how we deliver mentoring as part of our SFEDI programmes, please get in touch.



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