Menteeship: Getting Started

Framework curated by Erin Wynn, Manager of Education and Evaluation at MindFrame Connect

Why Mentorship Matters  

Globally, top entrepreneurs and founders credit mentorship relationships with some of the most insightful learnings they received while developing and managing their ventures. Research tells us that entrepreneurs who engage in mentorship increase their skills in opportunity recognition, coachability, and resilience – even reporting the development of more profitable ventures than those without mentors*. Many mentors cite the experience of mentoring as one that provides them with exposure to innovative ways of thinking and operating. Evidently, mentorship is a promising practice to further develop the Canadian entrepreneurship ecosystem.

* Kurato, D., Neubert, E., Marvel, M., “Insights on the mentorship and coachability of mentors”, Business Horizons 64, no. 2 (March-April 2021): 199

Mentees Should

Be Accountable.
With their mentor's insight, mentees should define their goals and establish a plan to ensure they're meeting those goals. The mentee is accountable for making contact, setting meetings, and providing their mentor with the relevant information. Mentees should always follow up with their mentor after meetings and provide consistent updates on actions and outcomes.

“You run your business and your life, responsibility for decisions begins and ends with you.”
– Brice Scheshuk

“Dedication to personal growth is what makes a great mentee”
– Eugene Bomba

Be Expansive.
You are not bound to one mentor or one mentorship experience. Openness to the many forms mentorship can take could look like engaging multiple mentors, working with mentors from different sectors, or seeking mentors amongst peers and competitors.  

“It is a fallacy to think you only need one mentor. You should ask the same question of multiple people because the different perspectives and answers will be beneficial to formulating insights.”
– Kim Furlong

Be Clear.
Define the expectations of your mentor and ask them to do the same for you. Clarity in the roles of mentor and mentee, expectations of access and time, and a shared definition of what the mentorship relationship will look like ensures a smoother and more efficient mentorship experience.  

“Very clearly articulate your goals and think about who around you that you can go to, to help you manage those goals.”
– Jodi Kovitz

Be Reciprocal.
With your mentor, define how often and in what formats you would like to provide feedback to them on their approach to mentorship. Be forthright in addressing conflicts, and respectfully challenge your mentor when needed. In your relationship, build a culture of direct feedback that helps you both grow and advance.

“Your mentor will respect you for giving your opinion, regardless of whether you’re right or wrong.”
– Matthew Leibowitz

“I see mentorship as a virtuous circle where one receives insights learned by another person, and then has the moral obligation to pass these on and to add one’s own. The secret of course is that every time we mentor, we learn more about what has made us successful and receive so much more than we give.”
– Alexandra Greenhill


Additional Resources:

  • Macro: Charlie Munger’s Worldly Wisdom, Farnam Street Mental Models, Duke Thinking in Bets, etc.
  • Founder Competencies: Mantella Venture Partners, etc.
  • Founder Behaviour and Mindset: Taleb Antifragile, Dweck Mindset, Sherman Stoic Wisdom, Duckworth Grit, Jensen The Power of Pressure, Severinghaus Scale Your Everest, etc.
  • Core Values and Culture: Horowitz What You Do Is Who You Are, Harnish Scaling Up, Amazon Working Backwards, Dalio Principles, Netflix Culture Deck, etc.
  • Talent and Performance: Modified Warren Buffet People Criteria, Doerr Measure What Matters, Version One Start-up Handbook etc.
  • Team Leadership and Dynamics: Amazon Single Threaded Leadership, Google’s re:Work, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, etc.

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