ICS Magazine

Management Training Options #2 for Your “Micro” Cleaning Service

April 26, 2000

Mentoring is a powerful resource for the professional cleaning micro-business!

Here is a positive suggestion for today’s floundering associations! Members and prospective members ask what do I get for my membership? Why not develop a “Structured Mentoring Program” for participating members. It is very badly needed and our industry has the mature, experienced volunteers to make it work. Extensive use of the Internet as a part of the program could be the missing ingredient that can make it work very effectively.

I am aware that mentoring has been available on a casual basis as long as there have been associations, but it has not been available in a well-planned, structured format. The results of casual mentoring are poor at best.

The international associations (ASCR &ISCT) could be the driving force to implement this concept, in cooperation with the regional associations.

What is Mentoring?

The classical dictionary definition of a mentor is: a trusted guide; a provider of wise counsel and advice; a confidant. What makes mentoring successful is the relationship that develops between a mentor and protégé.

Mentoring is the passing down of knowledge and wisdom from one person to another. It is a straightforward, honest relationship based on mutual trust, understanding and a determination to enhance one’s full potential. This can be very powerful in today’s micro-cleaning businesses.

Mentoring can additionally be defined as a regular, hands-on, one-to-one relationship based on a shared purpose and mutual interest. In the context of micro-business mentoring, this shared purpose is the survival and growth of the protégé’s micro-cleaning business. The mentor acts as a sounding board and a shoulder to lean on, providing support, guidance, friendship, understanding, constructive feedback and reinforcement with the purpose of helping their protégé’s develop to their fullest potential.

A mentor is someone with whom a person can create a “caring” but objective relationship. This is the wise counselor who has “been there, done that.” The mentor gives the benefit of experience, sharing the “unspoken rules” that can’t be learned from certification courses. Who are the people to trust? What are the actions you might take? And so on.

Further, the mentor takes on many different and varied roles during the relationship.

Structured Micro-Business Mentoring

Structured micro-business mentoring is the deliberate pairing of a more skilled or experienced micro-business person with a lesser skilled or experienced one, with the agreed-upon goal of having the lesser skilled person grow and develop specific competencies.

How a business mentor can help:

  • By providing guidance and support on matters such as time management, goal setting and “people problems”

  • Providing general micro-business management guidance and direction

  • Providing guidance in micro-business planning

  • Marketing for the micro-business

  • Finance for the micro-business

  • Referring or introducing the protégé to suitable professional advice and information resources.
Potential benefits for the protégé include:

    • Acquisition of needed skills and knowledge

    • Support and reassurance of an experienced micro-business person

    • Develop different perspective and broader vision of the existing business and future business opportunities

    • Access to information and resources they were unaware of

    • Increased confidence and self-esteem

    • Rekindled enthusiasm and increased motivation.

    In the next “Training Corner,” I will have more to share with you. We’ll examine my idea of a workable “Mentoring Program Operation Concept,” coupled with a unique concept of Internet usage, or “E-Mentoring”! Send your comments or suggestions via e-mail, to cleanlee@aol.com or visit ICS’ bulletin board at www.icsmag.com.