Mentoring 101

Hello WHAM Mentor!

Thank you so much for volunteering your time to mentor a startup. 

Here below are some thoughts and tips to help you get started.

What is a mentor - what its not



Mentor: I have a lot of experience that I can share which could be useful for you

Coach: The solution is within you and I can help bring it out

Tutor: I can teach you

Patronage: I believe in you and I will use my influence to help you move up in your career. 


Myth buster – what mentoring is NOT:

  • Business consultancy – a consultant advises someone on a specific task in a commercial relationship. Mentors generally work on a voluntary basis; providing new perspectives and empowering the entrepreneur to develop and grow
  • Business coaching – coaching has a shorter-term, task-orientated focus; mentoring has a longer-term relationship focus. The mentor seeks to improve specific skills, knowledge or behaviours and at times may use coaching techniques
  • Getting stuck in the details – the role of the mentor is to help the mentee look at the business from a broader perspective i.e. taking a ‘bird’s eye view’. The mentee can then view his/her options without getting weighed down by details
  • Direct sponsorship – a mentor should, in general, not act as a sponsor for the mentee i.e. by placing the mentee in a favourable position with a third party. This can create dependency and create a potential conflict of interest
  • The “secret” police or industrial espionage – the mentor is not there to spy on the mentee or his business for the competition, the mentoring team or any financial institution. The relationship is confidential and the mentor’s duty of care is towards the mentee


You are in the right place if you see yourself in one of these Top motivations to become a mentor:

  • give back to the community and support the economy
  • expand your network and knowledge
  • get exposed to new businesses and ideas
  • learn new skills from the mentoring process and entrepreneurs
  • develop leadership and management skills
  • develop and practice interpersonal skills
  • gain personal satisfaction through supporting the development of others

You might want to brush up on some communication skills before you start:

Use Active listening techniques and open ended questions to learn, clarify, and understand; reformulate to verify your understanding, give feedback often and honestly.

Key Principles Of Building Trust:

  • Get to know your mentee – talk about their business and their life outside it (as much as is acceptable). Try to understand what they think and why. Value their viewpoint
  • Do what you say you’re going to do – agree what you are aiming to achieve through your mentoring sessions. Be reliable and always do what you say you are going to do
  • Communicate openly and honestly – discuss issues as soon as they arise. Ask for and give feedback regularly
  • Don’t be afraid to challenge – your open, honest relationship will allow you to challenge your mentee constructively to explore a wider viewpoint
  • Let your mentee know – if you are not sure how to proceed or get the most out of the mentoring relationship. Alternatively, speak with your mentoring team

How to get started - prepare the first meeting

After receiving the introductory email putting you in contact with your mentee:


  • Set up first meeting, sign charter and send to mentee to sign and send back  (Startup should contact you)

        (hint: best would be to try to keep the same hour each week for the duration if possible)

  • Ask the mentee to send pitch deck and any other relevant information so that you have time to look it over before your first call. 
  • Draw up a list of questions from the deck and any other sources. 

        (hint: key areas of focus are product differentiation, market opportunity, competitive landscape and competitive       advantage, revenue model, cost structure, user case, route to market, management priorities…)

Typical first meeting:

First 5-8 minutes: introductions, getting to know one another personally and professionally. Set meeting goals.

Next 15-20 minutes: Go over the background and information of the startup, ask mentee any questions you had prepared. 

Next 10-25 minutes: Ask mentee to share which areas s/he believes s/he needs help with. Discuss where you believe you can add the most value in the mentorship and where you believe the startup needs help 

Last 5-6 minutes: Set up mentoring goals and a list of subjects to be covered together. Recap session. Next steps. 


That’s it, you’re off to a great start as a WHAM mentor. If you have any questions please give your country leader a shout or one of these guys:

Jerome Nollet                  [email protected]

Jerome Le Grand             [email protected]

Aviva Brooks                   [email protected] 

Emilie Esposito                [email protected]