Please use this guide for introductory Mentoring Sessions - clients who are meeting with a SCORE Mentor for the first time. All SCORE Mentors should be able to conduct an introductory meeting, regardless of the client's business status, industry, and questions. The introductory session should be documented as a first mentoring session in Engage and used to help the client establish an ongoing mentoring relationship with SCORE (which may mean bringing in other mentoring experts to the team), or to refer them to other resources within SCORE and through SCORE partnerships in the community (ie. workshops, other SBA resource partners, local banks).
1. Expectation Setting
- Offer an introductory greeting. Share your background with the client and what inspires you to volunteer for SCORE.
- Explain how SCORE mentoring works: These are collaborative meetings between the small business owner and the SCORE mentor. They are typically scheduled for an hour and can be held virtually, through online meetings, phone calls, email, or even in person if you would like to be paired with a local mentor. You can share your business goals, progress, challenges, and questions during these sessions. SCORE mentors will offer advice, resources, and insights so you gain clarity on your next best steps.
- During this first session, you will be asked questions about your business and your goals. This will help your SCORE mentor to understand how to best support you and answer your business questions. Mentors will leverage their personal experience and knowledge to help you avoid common challenges and mistakes. If they do not have the expertise you need, they may invite another mentor to participate in the meeting.
- Once you discuss your initial business question, SCORE mentors may ask you to complete business templates or to review resources on SCORE.org. Additionally, they may recommend SCORE or partner workshops or resources to meet your needs. They will also invite you to schedule a follow-up session to ensure you’re on the right track and to keep supporting your business.
2. Information Gathering
- Ask the client to tell you about his or her dream and also share his or her background information.
- Ask the client to share why he or she has come to SCORE for help.
3. Use SLATE Mentoring Methodology
|Stop & Suspend Judgement
|Set up the meeting by stating the purpose and/or goals.
Focus complete attention on the client.
Engage the client with questions.
Suspend judgment while the client spoke.
|Listen & Learn
|Exhibit active listening.
Ask questions that make the client think deeply.
Ask questions that begin with how, what, and why.
Learn more about the client’s needs and objectives as time goes along.
|Assess & Analyze
|Use exploratory dialogue including questions to help the client assess the
Ask questions to help the client analyze the issues logically and methodically so that the client can try to determine the best course of action themselves.
|Test Ideas & Teach with Tools
|Suggest ideas for testing to discover the best idea or to refine an idea.
Expand the client’s knowledge by suggesting appropriate tools for him or her
Help the client learn more about his or her idea as the session goes along.
|Expectation Setting & Encouraging the Dream
|End with clear expectations as to who would do what by when.
End with a plan of action and include appropriate steps forward based on the
Provide an ample dose of encouragement.
Talk specifically about a next meeting.
4. Summarize the meeting and set expectations for next steps.
5. Set up the next mentoring session.
Let the client know that they will receive a Net Promoter Survey shortly after their first session. Attempt to schedule the follow-up session while you still have them in the meeting. Follow up within 1 week with any resources discussed and plans to meet again.
If you feel that there is a skillset mis-match and the client could be better served with a different lead mentor, you can transfer the client back to the Client Intake Coordinator queue with noted information on the support the client needs.