Practical Versus Online Mentoring

With so many options available for coaching and mentoring we are often asked which is best, Practical Versus Online Mentoring?

We’ve discussed why having a Startup Mentor is a critical foundational component of any start up’s long-term success. But what type of mentoring best suits you and your circumstances?

Startup mentoring can take many forms. Traditionally mentoring was always done via a one-on-one, face-to-face relationship. Whilst this is still a popular and common option, it would be remiss to ignore the option of online (or virtual) startup mentoring.

With modern technology and a myriad of ways to communicate (e.g. email, Skype or Zoom) to effective file-sharing programs (e.g. dropbox, box) through to complete online communication solutions such as G-suite, online mentoring has never been more accessible.

Startup FMCG Mentoring Australia Online Mentoring Support against Practical Mentoring 1Practical Versus Online Mentoring

But which one is best for you? When considering your options it’s important to look at the pros and cons of both Practical Versus Online Mentoring. Below is an outline of the main advantages and disadvantages for both mentoring options:

Practical Mentoring: the pros

  • Potentially a more meaningful connection and stronger rapport is developed.
  • Mentors can provide more contextual answers, supplemented with real life examples and experiences in response to queries.
  • Mentors can get to know you, your situation, development gaps & business in a real life contextual way by immersing themselves in your environment.
  • Some individuals tend to feel more comfortable and articulate in face-to-face conversations.

Practical Mentoring: the cons

  • Few people truly have the time to dedicate to face-to-face mentoring.
  • If you have a question that needs a quick response, waiting for either your scheduled or an ad-hoc meeting can be difficult compared to sending a quick email.
  • Practical mentoring limits how many mentors you have due to time or distance constraints.
  • Similiarly, distance and time constraints will limit who you can have a mentor.

Online (Virtual) Mentoring: the pros

  • You’re not limited by time or distance constraints as you can choose from various communication tools to create an effective mentoring experience.
  • You can find your ideal mentor from your own or any other country. Online communication is global so you’re not confined by borders in your quest for the right mentor.
  • Skype, Zoom & other visual conferencing tools effectively replicate a face-to-face mentor relationship.
  • There’s the ability to replay recorded online mentoring sessions for further reference.
  • The pace and scheduling is flexible as you and the mentor can communicate as it suits each party via email.
  • The mentoring atmosphere may be more relaxed and productive if you’re being mentored in your home or another comfortable environment.
  • This option can provide quicker access to supportive information and resources if everything is online.

Online (Virtual Mentoring): the cons

  • Both parties need reliable Internet access.
  • Both parties need to have adequate computer skills and be apt at using different forms of online communication.
  • Sometimes establishing a rapport may be difficult, especially if you have not met each other before.
  • Potential loss of visual cues and non-verbal communication such as body language, gestures can impair rapport.
  • If not well structured online mentoring can potentially be more time consuming than practical mentoring.
  • Costs may be incurred if new software needs to be purchased such as conferencing tools, online storage space for documentation and more.
  • Different time zones can prove challenging when organising online mentoring sessions.
  • Technology is not always reliable and can play up at inconvenient moments such as your scheduled mentoring sessions.

As you can see there are many pros and cons of each startup mentoring option, Practical Versus Online Mentoring. However, whichever option you decide on, the most important element is your mentor. Choosing a mentor that is open-minded, experienced and who is able to help you progress whilst helping you sharpen your focus on what you would like to achieve is vital. And last but not least, mentoring, whether practical or online, needs to be a mutually beneficial relationship for both parties involved.

Startup FMCG offers Startup, FMCG and small business mentoring as part of our service. If you’d like to know more or meet the founder, Anthony Harb, fill in our contact form. He is a specialist mentor in Fast Moving Consumer Goods with 30 years experience and multiple product launches with products achieving more than $100 million turnover .