Frequently asked questions

The mentor’s role is to mentor individual leaders. The intent is that mentors help mentees think through challenges and problems and find solutions, so that leaders can be at their best to make decisions for their organisations and communities. Mentors should remain independent and committed to the confidentiality of whatever they and their mentee discuss.

To be eligible to participate in the Executive Mentoring Program, mentees must be currently working as a CEO, or equivalent, for a not-for-profit, social enterprise, or registered charity, and report directly to a Board of Directors.

We expect each mentor and mentee to maintain their mentorship as a professional relationship, and leave it to each pair to decide how often and how long to meet.

Each leader has different demands, needs, and styles. Some mentors and mentees meet every six weeks for one to two hours, while others meet every two weeks for half an hour. It’s up to you to decide and agree together.

We recommend at least five to six meetings a year, with possible telephone and/or email contact in between. Agree at the start of your mentorship a balance that suits both of you, and be prepared to review your decision. It’s likely that mentee needs will change over time, and as your relationship evolves. 

Most mentorships last for a number of years. We find the average length of time for a productive mentorship is about two years. 

Many mentees and mentors find that their mentorship comes to a natural end when it is clear that the initial challenges have been resolved. It can be useful to set up an expected end date for the relationship, and reassess at that time.  Some mentoring pairs may set new goals and continue working together.


Chemistry is important, and the relationship will struggle to be successful if rapport is lacking. Just as with any relationship, it’s natural for mentors and mentees to be initially unsure of each other until they build trust and rapport. The key is that you respect and make the effort to understand each other.

Mentoring is an exchange  of learning and experience directly between the mentor and mentee. There is no expectation that mentors should have contact with the Chair, board members, or any of the staff, unless you both agree this would be helpful.

Mentors are entrusted with looking after the best interests of their mentee. Together, mentors and mentees can review opportunities and reasons for resignation – helping mentees test whether this is a good choice. Mentees often present succession planning as one of the issues they wish to explore with a mentor, and in many cases this is healthy for the organisation.

Confidentiality is critical to the success of Kilfinan mentorships. Mentors or mentees will never be under any obligation to share the details of what they discuss together.

The independence and discretion of mentors is often exactly what leaders need to be open and vulnerable, so they can effectively solve challenges and lead their organisations to the best of their ability.

It is best to start with one. If mentors have the capacity to support more than one mentee, simply let us know and we will look for another match. 

Mentees are encouraged to only work with one mentor at a time, unless they are in need of short-term specialist support. In this case, get in touch and we’ll see if we are able to help. 

We highly recommend setting your next meeting at the end of the current one. Experience shows that it is preferable to keep the mentorship continuous as this creates maximum benefit.

The onus for arranging meetings rests with mentees, but if either party fails to keep in touch then we encourage you to let us know. This may indicate that the mentorship should be drawn to a close, or some other circumstance has taken precedent. We are here to assist if this occurs.