What is Mentoring?

Mentoring is often confused with coaching or advice.

Coaching is more structured and typically transactional, focus on a defined (mutually agreed) skill gap area for development for a defined time period and using specific toolsets. e.g. learn how to run a meeting or learn how to manage time. This is different to mentoring. We do coaching in specific areas if gaps are discovered and we are requested to help address those gaps but more commonly we would refer you to a specialist coach for that skill area.

Advice is typically specific recommendations about specific actions or parts to take. This is different to mentoring. We do advice as part of paid consulting not as part of mentoring largely because it requires much more preparation and is more specialised.

Mentoring is about awareness and mentees (usually founders or senior executives) understanding strategic scenarios or ‘doors’ are available to them as business executives and what consequences are behind each door.

Mentoring is less structured and usually higher order, consider it more of a sign post of (often multiple) possible destinations. Your mentor does not choose your path but does help you self discover possible paths. Mentoring is about raising awareness of options and paths and their pros and cons. e.g. ‘how do I grow my company’, ‘how do I develop strategic partnerships for distribution’, ‘do I need an advisory board’, ‘should I bootstrap or get investment’, ‘what are the pros and cons’.

Mentoring is not advice. Mentoring is not about which path to take or how. e.g. is it NOT ‘you should distribute via retail channels using this commerce software plugin and advertising on this social network’.

Mentoring is usually also not skill centric coaching although good mentors may do accelerated coaching in specific skills just to highlight the need for the mentee to learn more themselves.

What types of mentoring are available at Cooper & Co?

There are three main types available –

Indirect: Initial introductory free mentoring (time capped) is available for tech startups aiming for global markets via StartSoc for members of StartSoc.

Direct: For Cooper & Co investee firms or firms that are investments by members of our network, mentoring is normally available from network members on a complementary basis (from investees) or on a casual or at cost basis.

Direct: For Corporates, Governments and NGOs. In some situations paid mentoring for CEOs and senior executivess is available on a commercial consulting basis for larger firms with a significant tech element or pure tech companies including startups aiming for global markets who have already raised significant investment or have revenue or perhaps to help them prepare for investment or a major investor event or contract milestone or when reviewing strategy.

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