Inside a mentoring session

Inside a mentoring session

17 janvier 2021
Veerle Seymus
Veerle Seymus
  • Curious about what happens during a mentoring session? What do mentor and mentee say to each other? What is NOT being said?

    Three pairs of mentors and mentees volunteered to do a mini-session in front of a camera. These talks were not scripted or directed. The only preparation was the mentee listing his goals for 2021 as the basis of the discussion.

    Videos are Dutch spoken with English and Dutch subtitles.

    1. Rudi & Bram
    2. Saskia & Tom
    3. Valerie & Glenn
  • Rudi & Bram

  • It is the most dreaded time of the year again: performance reviews, aka evaluations. Not only dreaded by employees, but also by managers.

    Most managers are not trained to do this: having difficult conversations, handling emotions, delivering tough messages, picking up on non-verbal cues, reporting in a non-judgemental way, firmly standing behind, and arguing for company policy ... It's a tough act.

    Especially first time-leaders should be well guided to exit this minefield in one piece, hand in hand with the employee.

    1. We recommend first to master the basics of non-violent communication by Marshall Rosenberg
    2. And secondly, learn from people who have this under their belt: a mentor who has performed reviews a hundred times can support you and give you hands-on advice on handling these types of conversations effectively and satisfactorily for both parties.

    Evaluations is the main topic of this mentoring session of Ambits mentor Rudi Strobbe with manager Bram Vromans.

    360 reviews

    We applaud Bram for not making it the manager's evaluation but combining his insights with the employee's self-evaluation and the significant others' feedback. Indeed, please don't make it your evaluation alone.

    "Why do we even bother when rewards are peanuts?"

    Performance reviews are a high effort, time-consuming, and difficult exercise. And many times, managers have to disappoint employees because there is not much reward to be given.

    How stay motivated as a manager to go through this time and time again?

    Performance reviews pitfalls

    • Gauss dictates the scores
    • difficult conversations can easily be avoided

    This is a perfect recipe for lowering the standards, resulting in mediocrity. Keep your ground as a manager: it is your responsibility that people perform at their best. If they don't, deal with the hot potato.

    The end of top-down Compensation & Benefits

    Why not give managers the freedom to choose from a range of possibilities in a total rewards package as an incentive to teams and individuals?

    Bram argues that creating real ownership of employees by variably rewarding and/or offering shares is most powerful. If employees would be part-owners of their employing company, what would that do to ownership (and by extension to how performance reviews are done)?

  • Saskia & Tom

  • Manager Tom Van Asten defines his 2021 goals as follows:

    1. upgrade his EQ
    2. work on his personal development
    3. look at more ways of making his team members better at what they do and can

    Ambits mentor Saskia Kinds' challenging questions and remarks shift Tom's perspective:

    1. can you give concrete examples?
    2. how do you communicate your expectations?
    3. don't take yourself as the norm
    4. consider people you know who seem always to get things done how they want them done. Learn from those people.

    Watch how Saskia sets the scene:

    🧱 Saskia immediately created a psychologically safe environment
    🧱 She explained her way of mentoring and the process
    🧱 She managed expectations about responsibility
    🧱 and she kept asking probing questions.

    What does Tom take away from this speed mentoring session:

    1. Don't ignore my gut feeling
    2. Communicate more in details and factual
    3. I should make my expectations explicit
  • Valerie & Glenn

  • In this video, Glenn explains his goals first, and then, a few hours later, we recorded mentor Valerie responding to Glenn's input.

    To be a better leader, Glenn wants to:

    1. add his own sauce to what comes from the top
    2. be more pro-active, follow-up faster, and delegate like a pro
    3. translate company vision/mission/values to team vision/mission/values

    He expects his mentor to gently push him in the right direction by advising how to reach his goals.

    Valerie focuses this mentoring journey on developing Glenn's talents and freeing up more time for strategy:

    1. improving Glenn's leadership style
    2. helping Glenn set up a system for delegation and follow-up ánd for reporting to the N+1
    3. align company goals with department/team goals

Les difficultés d'un manager

Les managers sont

  • pas ou mal formés à ce rôle


    • manquent de confiance en soi
    • ne savent pas comment passer du statut de collègue à celui de patron
    • doivent relâcher le style de leadership 'commander et contrôler'
    • doivent abandonner le statut d'expert (technique)
    • ne peuvent pas donner ou accepter un feedback constructif
    • se sentent sous pression en tant que manager
    • ont des difficultés à établir des relations
    • veulent être appréciés de tous ou être le 'méchant patron'
    • jouent le héros
  • en difficulté


    • restent trop impliqués dans les opérations
    • ont du mal à établir des priorités
    • ne peuvent pas déléguer
    • redoutent les situations conflictuelles
    • se déconnectent de l'équipe
    • font face à une réflexion stratégique déficiente
    • ne portent pas sur la gestion supérieure
    • manquent de compétences claires en matière de communication
    • ne sont pas conscients d'eux-mêmes
    • évitent les conversations difficiles
    • manquent des antennes politiques
    • ...
  • capables de plus


    • ont besoin d'une préparation mentale comme successeur
    • doivent être capables de conduire les grands changements à venir
    • doivent apprendre à être résilientes sur le plan émotionnel et à se maîtriser
    • doivent apprendre à prendre rapidement de grandes décisions sans avoir toutes les informations
    • doivent devenir des présentateurs convaincants
    • ont besoin d'apprendre à cultiver leur image de marque personnelle
    • doivent apprendre à montrer l'exemple
    • dirigent par la confiance, non par la peur
    • ont besoin de développer intensivement l'empathie
    • ...
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