Part 3: Applied Mentor-Coaching for Entrepreneurship Development

INTENTIONAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP: In part 2 of this series I focused on the entrepreneurship development stages that intentional entrepreneurs must be aware of and drive their journey through them. Perhaps I should explain why I am emphasizing on the word, intentional. I am suggesting that it is necessary that people are intentional about becoming entrepreneurs, develop a projected future life cycle their enterprises are to go through, determine the pace they will follow, understand the challenges and opportunities at each stage of their entrepreneurship journey, determine the stages at which they will let go and handover the running of their businesses to their successors, etc. I basically do not believe in people becoming entrepreneurs by default. If that happens they should urgently structure the progression through the stages as I explained in part 2.

GOALS & ACTIONS: Let us go back to our mentor-coaching sessions facilitation model. This time I would like to look at the facilitation of strategic and operational goals setting. Now that we have projected the life cycles of our enterprises we must formulate strategic and operational goals. Once the entrepreneurs have been assisted to formulate the strategic goals and actions for their enterprises they are held accountable. During each mentor-coaching session we remind the entrepreneurs of these goals and challenge them to come up with supporting actions. Whenever they decide on any action we question if such actions are supportive of the goals or not. If they are not we engage in crucial conversations with the entrepreneurs to challenge their reasoning for such deviation. We enforce a discipline to follow and support the set goals. That is the only way to bring about a shift and a move along the entrepreneurship development journey in a transformational manner.

SESSION TEMPLATE: The goals and actions are captured on the mentor-coaching session template. The project administrators enter each entrepreneur’s goals and actions onto the consolidated spreadsheet. This gives the mentor-coaches a broader overview of the level of sophistication and diversity of the group goals and actions. We use this spreadsheet in grouping those entrepreneurs with similar goals together for small groups working sessions. 

GOVERNANCE & COMPLIANCE: From the very beginning mentor-coaches hold the entrepreneurs accountable with regard to governance and compliance. There is governance and compliance checklist form that each entrepreneur must complete during each mentor-coaching session. It is used to check compliance on the following: valid CIPC Registration Documents, BEE Certificates or Affidavits, Tax Clearance Certificates, Proof of Business Address, Letter of Good Standing (COID), Central Supplier Database Report, Bank Letter, Business Insurance where required, latest Financial Statements, etc. The entrepreneurs are requested to bring their company documents file with all the above documents as a proof that they indeed comply.

GOALS REVIEW & PROGRESS UPDATE: In the subsequent sessions the mentor-coaches ask each entrepreneur to remember, share and update on their goals. Where do they think they are in their effort to achieve them. Do they remember the measurements, i.e. the indicators? They must be ready to give feedback on these goals at every session. We want them to remember them and their performance indicators daily. This is the life of their enterprises and they must be actively connected with it at all times. We are holding them accountable.

ACTIONS REVIEW & PROGRESS UPDATE: These actions are supporting the goals, and must be implemented to make sure that the business grows. Similarly, the entrepreneurs must give progress report on their actions since the previous session, and on an ongoing basis. What successes are they making? What difficulties are they experiencing? What lessons are they making as they go about implementing their actions? Is there any specific assistance they require? 

CHECKING-OUT: The checking out of the mentor-coaching session is the opportunity to reflect on the session and evaluate it instantly. It is structured and forms an important part of the session. The session does not end until each entrepreneur has checked out formally.

- CONFIRMATION. What was confirmed by the session? There must have been something that you came with to the session that was confirmed for you. What is it, and can you share with your mentor-coaches and fellow entrepreneurs?

- AHA MOMENT. At what point during the session did you experience an aha moment, i.e. the point at which clarity for any issue was achieved? That is the point at which “a penny dropped”.

- NEW INSIGHTS. What new insights, lessons and knowledge have you gained from the session? 

- TAKE HOME. What are you taking home with you to share with others who could not be here at the session with you? As entrepreneurs we are the multipliers and are always willing to share with the others.

- NEW PRACTICES/BEHAVIOURS. What are you going to do differently from today onward as a result of the session? Is there anything that you are going to stop doing or you are going to start doing as a result of today’s session? 

KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT: Every session is viewed as a knowledge creation opportunity and the administrators must make sure that the records are kept professionally. The following end of session steps are strictly adhered to:

- WORKING TEMPLATES: The programme administrators collect all the working templates from all the entrepreneurs who participated in the session. These templates have been used to capture each entrepreneur’s input and knowledge generated in the session. 

- ENTREPRENEURS REGISTER: We make sure that all the entrepreneurs have fully entered their identity details (name, company, etc.) in the register for compliance, monitoring and follow up purposes.

- SIGNATURES: They pen down their names and confirm the originality of their inputs and knowledge created by signing off the working templates. 

- COUNTER-SIGNATURES: The mentor-coaches are not only the facilitators but are the witnesses of the great work of the entrepreneurs. They are therefore requested to fulfill this objective by counter-signing the working templates.

- EMERGING THEMES: As part of the reflection and looking forward to future sessions the entrepreneurs are requested to note down the themes that emerged from the session. We use these themes to monitor the progress in learning and the transformation from the current state of being to the future state of being.

- MENTOR-COACHES REPORTS: The mentor-coaches are required to produce summative reports from the session. They also use prescribed standard templates. Their reports are consolidated professional review of the session.

- SUBMISSION OF REPORTS: The mentor-coaches reports are submitted to the project administrators, otherwise they will not be rescheduled for the subsequent session.

END: I hope that you have received some practical insights into conducting mentor-coaching session from this article. This series has come to end. I will be starting a new series titled, MENTORSHIP PROGRAMME FOR LIFE-LONG HOLISTIC HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT. 


ABOUT SAM TSIMA: The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of COMETSA GoC International (Pty) Ltd, specialists in mentorship, coaching, advisory, networks, holistic human capital, management and leadership development consulting. You may contact Sam Tsima and COMETSA at email: callcentre@Cometsa-GoC.com; or visit our website: http://www.Cometsa-GoC.com

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