Article by Wenancjusz Ochmann
Image credits: Unsplash.com

In the creative industries and the cultural sector, the mentor is seen primarily as a guide helping the mentee develop their own art workshop. Often the mentor’s role is similar to that of an “old master” passing on their knowledge in some artistic field. A Master-Student relationship is built in the context of creating a work of art. But modern times require completely different relationships in mentoring processes, relationships more focused on designing the mentee’s own business activities. How to sell art objects also has to be learned.

The main feature of creative industries is the overwhelming number of small businesses on the market. Freelance activity is also highly developed. There is a very high demand for business mentoring which takes into account the specificity of activities in the creative industries. But at this point the question arises what competences and experience should such a mentor have in order to be able to help their mentee in the best possible way.

Can a business coach working in various sectors of the economy fulfill this task well?

Can a well-known artist be such a person?

Or is it best to have a successful entrepreneur operating in the creative industries convey their knowledge and experience to the mentee?

The answer is not clear cut. Ideally, the mentor should be, to a varying extent, each of the three people mentioned above. An experienced entrepreneur is the most needed, but with the competences of a business coach and artistic sensitivity of a well-known artist.

This would be an ideal mentor for the creative and cultural industries .

Well-conducted mentoring is not only the mentor and the mentees – there are many more direct stakeholders. In addition to the already mentioned mentor and mentee, there are also: managers of mentors and mentees, management of organizations associated with them, HR departments, and the manager directly responsible for the mentoring program. They all need to be aware of their roles and responsibility in the mentoring process. Good communication and understanding between them is also essential.

An extremely important element in the mentoring process is the preparation of all stakeholders through training and meetings. This mainly involves the mentor and the mentees so that they can refine their cooperation techniques. Mentors must be aware of their mentoring and leadership style, and mentees must be aware of their expectations towards the mentor. The role of the mentee’s manager is also very important, as they should strongly support the mentee in the process.

The mentoring process requires constant supervision and care. In some universities (for example in Malmo – Sweden, with which Arteria has recently established contact), this is done by specialized career offices that run and maintain mentoring programs.

You have to observe all the time whether the process is running smoothly and most effectively. Is there a good cooperation between the mentor and the mentee? Don’t they need some other, external form of support – for example an external coach. Meetings in groups of mentors and groups of mentees are also organized. Process evaluation and monitoring are carried out.

As you can see, mentoring, especially in the creative industries, is a complex issue. However, the developmental effects in the context of contemporary labor market challenges are already very visible in all organizations that have decided to implement mentoring. This is also evident during the implementation of the BtG project. This was also confirmed by mentors from 6 countries who shared their experiences and tested the training material on the project’s educational platform during the Bridging the Gap – C2 training event workshop.