Visualizing Mentoring Conversations

To discover a way to measure the efficacy of a mentoring session, I listened and re-listened to a recording of a mentoring conversation. I was trying to discern themes in the conversation to help make it easier to compare different mentoring sessions. I noticed five major themes: questions, examples, application, current/past strategies, and future strategies.

Questions are denoted by red lines, and appear every time a questions is asked.

Examples: Real world examples are used in several ways by both the mentor and entrepreneur. They’re used to learn from competitors’ strategies. Some times examples of potential customers are discussed to notice how a market segment may be profiled for product-market fit. Other times, they’re metaphorical to convey a concept about human nature and business strategy.

Application: Whenever an example is presented in conversation, it is then applied to the entrepreneurs current situation.

Current/Past Strategy: Current/Past Strategy denotes whenever the mentor or entrepreneur discuss where the entrepreneur’s business currently is or has been.

Future Strategy: Future Strategy is a discussion about steps that can be taken to move the business forward.

The following two infographics are my first attempt at visualizing a mentoring conversation. They are both visuals of the same conversation, however, the larger graphic includes the questions asked by both the mentor and entrepreneur.

Noteworthy Observations:

1. During the course of this mentoring conversation, there seems to have been a shift between the 18:00 to 22:30 minute mark, where the mentor begins providing strategic advice. I believe this shift occurs because the mentor has figured out what to focus on with the entrepreneur, and where to delve deeper in order to sketch next steps for the entrepreneur to tackle.

2. Towards the end of this mentoring session, 31:30 and onward, the entrepreneur shifted towards applying what he’s learning from the examples to his own business. This is particularly noticible when the applications appear without a preceding example on the entrepreneurs side of the conversation. The entrepreneur is taking the example the mentor has provided and is directly applying the pedagogical purpose of that example.

This second infographic of the mentoring session is too busy and requires a simpler way to convey the key questions asked by the mentor.

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