Mentorship is a relationship between two individuals. One with more experience and knowledge than the other, where the experienced individual provides guidance, advice, and support to the less experienced individual. 

Mentorships are crucial to a business. During an experiment with novice female microenterprise proprietors living in a slum in Kenya, receiving guidance and support from an accomplished entrepreneur who belonged to the same community resulted in an average increase of 20% in short-term profits

Mentorship is an essential part of personal and professional growth. However, mentorship is not a one-size-fits-all approach. There are certain dos and don’ts that mentors should keep in mind to make sure they are providing practical guidance to their mentees.

This blog post will explore some of the most essential mentorship dos and don’ts.


Do: Build a Strong Relationship With Your Mentee

The foundation of effective mentorship is building a strong relationship with your mentee. This means taking the time to get to know them, understanding their goals and challenges, and showing genuine interest in their progress. 

The mentoring relationships have led to increased confidence in 87% of both mentors and mentees, resulting in them feeling empowered.

It’s important to create a safe and supportive environment where your mentee feels comfortable discussing their concerns and seeking guidance.

Do: Set Clear Expectations and Goals

To ensure a productive mentorship relationship, it’s essential to set clear expectations and goals from the outset. This includes discussing the frequency and format of your meetings, the specific areas you will focus on, and the outcomes you hope to achieve. 

Setting clear expectations will help both you and your mentee stay on track and make the most of your time together.

Do: Provide Constructive Feedback

One of the most valuable aspects of mentorship is receiving feedback from someone who has more experience. However, it’s important to provide feedback in a constructive and supportive manner. 

Focus on specific behaviours or actions that can be improved, and provide reasonable suggestions for how to make those improvements.

Do: Share Your Network and Resources

One of the most valuable things a mentor can offer is access to their network and resources. This includes introducing your mentee to people in your industry, sharing relevant articles or books, and providing guidance on how to navigate the job market. 

Mentees are promoted 5 times more often than those without mentors. Therefore, by sharing your network and resources, you can help your mentee make valuable connections and accelerate their progress. 

Do: Encourage Self-Reflection and Self-Awareness

Effective mentorship is about helping your mentee develop their skills and abilities. This means encouraging them to engage in self-reflection and develop self-awareness. Encourage your mentee to think critically about their strengths and weaknesses, and to set goals that align with their personal and professional values.

Do: Be a Role Model

Mentors should lead by example and be positive role models for their mentees. This means demonstrating the values, behaviours, and skills that they hope to instil in their mentee. Mentors should also be transparent about their struggles and challenges, as this can help their mentees feel more comfortable sharing their vulnerabilities and seeking guidance.


Don’t: Assume You Have All the Answers or Judge

As a mentor, it’s important to recognize that you don’t have all the answers and your role is to provide guidance and support, not to dictate what your mentee should do. To achieve this, mentors should be open to learning from their mentees, encouraging them to share their insights and perspectives. At the same time, they should avoid assumptions and judgments that can quickly derail the mentoring relationship. 

Mentors should take the time to listen and understand their mentee’s perspectives. Similarly, mentees should consider their mentor’s feedback and advice thoughtfully and respectfully before judging it.

Don’t: Overwhelm Your Mentee With Information

As a mentor, it’s easy to get carried away with sharing your knowledge and experience. However, it’s important to be mindful of how much information you are sharing and how it’s being received. 

Avoid overwhelming your mentee with too much information at once, and instead, focus on the key points that are most relevant to their goals.

Don’t: Criticize or Belittle Your Mentee

While it’s important to provide constructive feedback, it’s equally important to avoid criticism or belittling your mentee. This can harm trust and damage the mentorship relationship. Instead, focus on providing feedback in a way that is respectful and supportive, and always keep your mentee’s feelings and well-being in mind.

Don’t: Expect Your Mentee to Be a Clone of Yourself

It’s important to recognize that your mentee is a person with their own unique goals and perspective. Avoid expecting your mentee to be a copy of yourself, and instead, focus on helping them develop their strengths and abilities.

Don’t: Do the Work for Them

Mentors should provide guidance and support, but should not do the work for their mentees. The goal of mentoring is to help the mentee develop their own skills and abilities and to become more self-sufficient and confident individuals.

Don’t: Micromanage

A mentor should not micromanage the mentee. Micromanaging can be demotivating and may delay the mentee’s progress. A mentor should provide guidance and support, but allow the mentee to take ownership of their work and make their own decisions.

To Sum Up

Mentorship is a powerful tool that can help individuals achieve personal and professional growth. However, mentors should keep in mind the dos and don’ts of effective mentorship to run a successful business. 

By following these guidelines, mentors can provide practical guidance to their mentees and help them achieve their goals while building strong and meaningful relationships. Effective mentorship is a win-win situation where both the mentor and mentee can learn and grow together, and contribute to the overall success of the organization.

About the author

EWOR is a place where the most extraordinary people find the education, network, and capital to solve the world's biggest problems. Our unique combination of an entrepreneurship academy and early-stage VC (up to €150K investment) firm was built for founders by founders, creating an unparalleled community for like-minded entrepreneurs and over a dozen unicorn founders who are building impactful tech companies.