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Lessons to Learn from Facebook’s New Mentoring Programme

By Peter Smith

Facebook has come to London. The uber-prolific social media giant opened its brand-new office on December 4th, complete with dedicated space intended to be used for an incubator project in which the company will mentor small businesses. Through many years in small business coaching, I can easily see numerous lessons to be learned from what Facebook intends to do.

To be clear, business mentoring is not the purpose behind the new London headquarters. It is a side gig, so to speak. Facebook vice president for Northern Europe Steve Hatch was quoted by the BBC as saying, “we’re going to take 5 to 6 companies and invite them to join us in this space for a three-month programme.” Whether or not they repeat it with a new selection of companies remains to be seen.

With the preliminaries behind us, let us talk about those lessons to be learned. There are three of them:

1. Business Mentoring Should Be Selective

The first lesson is that business mentoring should be selective. Facebook exemplifies this through the parameters they have established for mentoring candidates:

Companies must have been founded within the last three years;

They must employ 50 or fewer people; and

They must be located in the UK.

Business mentoring must be selective on both ends of the equation. Coaches are selective because they don’t have the time or resources to work with companies that are not truly dedicated to getting better at what they do. Likewise, companies be selective when choosing a mentor to ensure they don’t work with a coach incapable of producing positive results.

2. Mentoring Should Be Based on Expertise

The second lesson is found in another Steve Hatch quote: “they’re going to learn from our experts in the areas of product design, engineering, and even the kind of things like HR, which become more important as you get bigger.”

Facebook is offering genuine expertise to those companies they come alongside to mentor. There is no substitute for such expertise. Facebook knows how to utilise social media and networking like no other company. They are expert marketers as well. Any company requiring the same skill sets would find their expertise invaluable.

3. Mentoring Should Be Comfortable

Finally, Facebook’s London headquarters is a modern, open, and inviting space designed specifically to create an environment that people want to work in. Elements like modern architecture, comfortable furniture, and even free coffee and ice cream make the space anything but traditional. What does this tell us? It says that business mentoring should be comfortable.

Business mentoring should not be an experience that is so discomfiting that the one being coached runs away in fear. Small business coaching can be challenging, but it should never be oppressive. Otherwise, very little actual coaching will take place.

I am an experienced small business coach capable of helping you grow your business. If you would like to know more about my services, please don’t hesitate to contact me.



By Peter Smith.

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