Have You Made Mentorship a Cornerstone in Your Program?

course creator course design entrepreneurship learning experience design mentorship Jul 05, 2021

In Episode 5 of Your Greatest Work, we explore the topic and role of mentoring.

Mentorship is a cornerstone of learning, according to Dominic Sicotte, a community-driven entrepreneur in Quebec. On the first guest interview episode of Your Greatest Work, Dominic joins to share his passion, experience, and insights about the importance of mentoring in the learning process.

Dominic founded and runs A.B. Foster, a business academy for 16 to 25-year-olds who don't fit the traditional schooling model. A.B. Foster's programs offer students the opportunity to discover themselves through entrepreneurship. Mentorship is deeply integrated into the school's model.

Forms of Mentorship

According to Dominic, mentorship comes in two forms: transferring-based and coaching-based.

Transferring-based mentorship involves giving knowledge and even contacts to a new entrepreneur. This is the "I've done that before, you should try this" kind of mentorship. When most people think of mentorship, they think of transferring-based.

But this type of mentorship has a fundamental problem for mentees: If a mentee takes the advice, tries it, and it doesn't work because of a different business or the business environment, the mentee returns disappointed. In turn, the mentor may assume the problem is the mentee, not their advice, despite the different circumstances.

However, coaching-based mentorship avoids this problem entirely because of one crucial difference. Coaching is not advice-giving. Coaching involves developing a relationship through questions that prompt the mentee to find their own answers. Through this, mentees gain confidence and experience because decision-making comes from them.

Coaching is one of the most valuable —and most difficult— forms of mentorship.

In practice, mentorship rarely falls squarely into one of these forms. There's absolutely a space and a need for a hybrid of both forms, but most times mentorship does not spontaneously happen, it can be a carefully crafted dynamic as part of a formal workplace or career development program.

Creating Mentorship Opportunities

Beyond sharing the ways that the A.B. Foster academy has mentoring integrated throughout, Dominic also shared advice for creating mentorship within learning programs. For large companies, specifically, partnering mentors and mentees from different departments can be very beneficial.

The mentee employee can share the training they're receiving and even the mentor can learn a lot. However, this only works if the mentor has been trained for their role. They’re there for coaching-based mentorship, to listen, ask questions, make the mentee comfortable, and create a safe place for open communication.

In this way, the mentor can help transfer the culture. As a side benefit, this kind of relationship can help to open communication and create connections between departments.

According to Dominic, mentorship is critical for making learning truly stick.

Tune into the full episode to hear more of Dominic's vision and expertise with mentorship.

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More Podcast Listening

Through conversations with global leaders and the credibility of personal industry, Your Greatest Work digs deeper into learning design in useful and applicable ways. Listen to this episode on Mentorship

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