Intern’s Insight- An insight into a great Startup Direct mentor

This week I caught up with Marc Dhalluin who mentors many Startup Direct entrepreneurs and asked him some questions on mentoring. Here are his replies…

Hi there Marc. Why did you decide to become a mentor?
Marc: As I progressed through the corporate world each position became more about strategy and enablement, or the ability of the organisation and its teams to turn the strategy into effective plans and subsequent actions. It was more about leading, guiding, coaching and mentoring people to discover their best selves. It is not possible to do this only for the work environment as anyone’s abilities are at the core tied to who and what they are as people. This necessitated a style that suited the organisation’s objectives (more leadership / coaching) and a more passive (mentoring) style for the human part.

What is the best thing about being a mentor?
Marc: Seeing the palpable joy when someone does something they never thought they could or was seriously struggling to do. Each and every mentorship is for me a journey in which I discover something about my environment and myself.

What do you think is the best piece of wisdom you have shared with a mentee?
Marc: Find the right questions to ask. Then the answers will flow. It’s not asking the right questions that leads to failure.

What is the biggest challenge you have helped a startup business overcome?
Marc: Redefining the dream and ensuring that it is as appealing as the original.

What is the most interesting startup/entrepreneur you have worked with?
Marc: PerformHer Academy in South Africa. Targeted at women and breaking down their own barriers in their path to the boardroom of enterprise or their lives. Defining the problem statement was easy; refining the product a challenge and keeping the founder motivated.

What personal attributes or qualities do you think are important for business success?
Marc: There are many. I focus on purpose – really knowing why you want to do something (I prefer when the answer is not to make money but to make a difference in people’s lives and then the money is one of the consequences-; determination; inquisitiveness – the how and why; and humility.

What inspired you to succeed?

Marc: The desire to make a difference in people’s lives. And success in business is only one dimension. Originally it was status and money – what a waste of emotional energy. I believe deeply that we need to develop ourselves to be our best selves.

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