Putting Mentoring into P.R.A.C.T.I.C.E.


Whilst it's pretty vital to choose the right mentor and understand how to work with your chosen mentor it's also important to make sure that you give the best to the relationship so that you get the best from it. Being a successful protégé is more likely if you remember a few key things.

Your Mentor wants you to succeed and there’s nothing you can do to honour them more than remembering to PRACTICE


Prepare well

Before each session think about your goals and aims from the session. If necessary write down a list of questions and areas for discussion and send them to your mentor in advance. That will help to to make sure that the session remains focussed and delivering what you need.


Respect your mentors time

Mentors have, like you, limited time and resources available, so being respectful of their needs to stick to times and stay focussed on the meeting goals is important. The more that you can do this the more that trust grows and relationships strengthen. As that happens you’ll find the value of each session really accelerates.


Actively listen

Listen to what’s being said without preparing your response mentally as you go along. Pauses for thought are something that will develop strongly in the greatest mentoring relationships and respecting silence and giving your mentor space to think is as important as it is for them to respect your need for considered thought too. Play back what you have heard even if you think you fully understand. Your mentor will know that his information has been received when you do.


Constructively discuss

So, now that there is a better understanding of the information it’s time to hone it. Your mentor has brought their knowledge to you, but in the context of their skills and experience. Your needs and experience are based on your context. Through constructive discussion you can, between you both, synthesise the best outcome.


Think and check

Take time though to reflect on what you have heard and learned. After all the decisions you are making with your mentor are important – you wouldn’t be paying for their support if their input wasn’t valuable to you. It’s important to give decisions and actions the right amount of thinking and checking time, and remember, if questions come up when you do this, your mentor should be able to comment and support you too.



Implementation is the key to putting the knowledge and skills that have informed your decision to work to turn them into real outputs for you and your business. Without this step the information you have had and the knowledge gained is valueless, so make sure you know what you need to actually implement it. Implementation is also about planning and sourcing the resources you need, as well as doing the work.



Now do an immediate check, have you done everything that you said you wanted to do? Is the work complete? or are there elements still to do? What went as it should? What new knowledge did you gain?, What problems did you encounter? How can you improve the implementation process? These checks mean you can start to document how you implement things in your business. Businesses that really understand implementation and have the right checks in place are more scalable (and more valuable). Do this well and when you next need to implement the same thing, you’ll find it easier and more reliable.



A little time later you may want to look back and decide if the work you have done is delivering what you expected. Measure the things that you can and compare them to the expected results. When you have done that, spend time with your mentor to discuss the results and look at what worked for you and what has not. In other words we are back to the P of PRACTICE, it’s time to prepare well again. 

Perfect PRACTICE makes perfect.

Working with your mentor your main aim becomes about substantially improving the outcomes you achieve – and the more you PRACTICE the better you’ll get.  


William Buist



William Buist is MD of Abelard Management Services, which specialises in developments in the Societal Web.

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