thinking space


Mentoring is a trust-based and two-sided relationship which helps the mentee to develop personal and business-related skills. Mentoring is deeply rooted in adult learning and fits the generativity instinct. It is based on listening and asking questions rather than on providing solutions.
Mentoring could be a key tool in order to engage younger NEETs. Mentoring can also build the bridge between a worker and a young person and help them to integrate into the labour market. Moreover, mentoring is applicable for every vulnerable target group (migrants, women, disabled) and therefore a very powerful tool to cover the variety of NEETs.

In an entrepreneurial context mentoring has been implemented mentoring programmes for young entrepreneurs across the world and the results are the same everywhere: Mentoring is a powerful tool to help young entrepreneurs build a trustful relationship with a mentor and use his know-how to develop as an entrepreneur and create sustainable businesses.
In following thinking spaces present research, technical descriptions of tools, stories, real-life experience related to mentoring with a priority of business mentoring.

Thinking Space Paper No.17: What makes a great mentor?

Can anyone be a mentor? Are there things that make great mentors unique? As in all things I think it’s helpful to go back to the beginning.  The first mention of a mentor was in Homer’s ‘The Odyssey’, where Odysseus heads off to fight in the Trojan Wars and leaves his young son in the care of his wise and trusted advisor – Mentor. As mentors we offer mentees many things, but at its core mentoring is about providing support by listening and offering challenge by asking good questions.

Thinking Space Paper No.24: Managing transition as a small retailer in COVID-19

The Kübler-Ross Change Curve[1] describes the process of transition from crisis to being able to implement new ideas and strategies. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit micro and small businesses hard. Entrepreneurs are overwhelmed by the level of uncertainty. Many are looking for personalised support to help with crucial decision-making, protect and save their business or explore other ways to survive. Having a mentor has never been more important. This Thinking Space Paper uses the Kübler-Ross Curve to illustrate the rapid transition of a small retailer from the shut down in Germany on 15 March to the “new normal” at the end of June 2020. The rapidity and intensity of the shock and remaining uncertainty demonstrate the need of entrepreneurs to possess VUCA Skills (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity), mindfulness, resilience, creativity and communication.


Thinking Space Paper No.26: Setting up a mentoring programme

Setting up a sustainable mentoring programme can sound challenging in the beginning and it might not often be intuitive knowing where to start – but do not worry, we’ve got your back! This paper contains simple tips and recommendations to successfully develop a mentoring programme, and it will guide you through seven essential components for building a strong and sustainable mentoring programme.

Thinking Space Paper No.27: Remote Mentoring

Every good mentoring relationship is based on trust and rapport. When you have the opportunity to go for a walk or have a coffee together it is easy to learn more about the other person. Developing trust using video calls and other means of remote communications is a bit trickier. So here are a few tips & tricks which might come in handy.

Thinking Space Paper No.28: Transactional vs Transformational Mentoring

A key success factor in mentoring is moving on from transactional towards more transformational conversations. Read more about how to do this in this Thinking Space.

Thinking Space Paper No.30: Mentoring for employment seekers

Mentoring for employment seekers is a powerful tool to help NEETs to discover their own values and interests in life. It can guide them through the job application process and support them in taking the responsibilities for their own life and actions.