Mentoring is only possible when conducted outside the circle that contains the protégé's endeavors and outlook. Mentoring is process that is based on NOT getting caught up in the same premises, perceptions and reactions as those getting mentored. I find I make the most difference coming from a different place, rather than with the particular advice I give. The entrepreneurs come under a different impression of what happened and how to respond by dealing with my different set of premises.
Our local minds are designed to get caught up in patterns of perceptions and reactions without giving them further thought. We jump to conclusions and assume what we always conclude. We are quick to categorize and familiarize the new situation and move on to other concerns. Our premises are unthinkable, inaccessible by worrying and deeply held.
Our premises form circles, cycles and recursive processes. We perpetuate our misery or reinforce our successes. We enclose any provocation into a story we find to be consistent, reliable and reassuring. We feed reenactments of familiar dramas with our speedy reactions that assume what will happen next. We don't see how we are actually inside invisible circles. Instead we realize our predictions were right, the problem is real and the others complied with our expectations. We assume the case against our assumptions is closed and no further questions are required.
When I'm mentoring someone, I do not buy into these cycles. I stand outside the circle that perpetuates the patterns. I contradict the predictions of what will happen next. I challenge their assumptions about what the situations indicate, signify or reveal. I offer different stories for what gets into people, what motivates their reactions and what feeds their chronic problems. I reframe the definition of the problem and point out different directions to look for solutions.
All I can do at this point is trust the process. I create the tension between two world-views and see what happens. I experience the suspense like all those movies I enjoy so much. I don't know how it will turn out and what will happen next. I live the mystery and play my part when it appears called for.