Case Study

Solution Focused Mentoring@S&B

Solution Focused Mentoring@S&B

Case study as presented at HR Professioanal, June 2012 (translated from Greek)

With the Solution Focused approach we see the Mentee as the “specialist” who has the resources to find the solution by himself.  The Mentor’s job is to help the Mentee find own solution through a series of questions. As in more traditional mentoring programs, the mentor can also share his/her own experiences regarding the specific topic. We manage to develop new perspectives focusing to the future.

In S&B, the Mentoring program started in 2007 with Mentees and Mentors solely from Greece while today the program runs with Mentors and Mentees from all the geographical areas where S&B operates: N&S Europe, N&S America, Asia.

Eva Valavani  - S&B Group HR Manager

The Mentoring program started, amongst others, in order to manage our talents, aiming in further developing them personally as well as professionally. We basically include in the Mentees’ pool all our most valued employees, the ones that have new and challenging tasks in the company as well as talents that develop by further improving their strong areas and abilities.

It is based on a structured but not hierarchical relationship between Mentor and Mentee. The Mentor provides the Mentee with knowledge, ideas, experience and best practices in order to develop specific areas that have been mutually agreed/chosen. In S&B the Mentors are board members or from senior management, therefore they are with the company since a long time carrying a lot of “wisdom” and experience to share with their Mentees.

The program is based on the Solution Focused approach which is a modern method used more and more over the last few years. Through a simple and user friendly model we focus on the solutions, on the Mentee’s strong areas and build on them.

Maria Drapanioti  - S&B Management Development Manager

How does the program work?

The program is “led” by the Mentee who chooses his Mentor depending on which topics he wants to focus on. All Mentors and Mentees go through practical and theoretical training in order to find out how S&B Mentoring works and what their role is in the program.

In training, the participants fill in a questionnaire which determines their Mentoring style. This information helps in the meetings that follow, between the Mentor and the Mentee, where they discuss each other’s style in order to form a working plan during the program. The program has a duration of about 12 months. They begin with a  Kick-off meeting where they discuss the areas the Mentee wants to work on and an agreement is signed which states the success rules of this relationship. After that, the private meetings start once a month.

The HR department is monitoring the progress of the program with often follow-ups, especially at the beginning until all kick-offs have been completed, receives feedback for the program in the middle of the year and receives a full feedback report at the end of the program.

The relationship between Mentor and Mentee however doesn’t end at the end of the program. It is an ongoing relationship and we always stress the point that the Mentees can seek their Mentors advice when ever they need it.

Benefits from the program

There are multiple benefits both for the Mentee as well as the Mentor:


  • Builds on his strong areas and develops new abilities
  • Successfully achieves challenging goals and projects
  • Has the chance to create a constructive relationship with an experienced co-worker and learn from his knowledge and experience
  • Has the chance to promote his image and abilities within the organization


  • Gets satisfaction by contributing to his Mentee development.
  • Further improves his leadership and coaching skills
  • Shows interest and commitment in the development of his co-workers within the company

There are multiple benefits for S&B as well:

  • The people are trained in focusing on the future, the solutions, their strong areas by productively solving problems.
  • An environment of cooperation and sharing is created where knowledge is exchanged.
  • People of different cultures and level get to communicate and cooperate.
  • It is important to invest in people in order to challenge them and get them to show their talents as well as improve the company overall.
  • The company shows a more positive image.

We believe that the success of the program is based on the following:

  • There is commitment and belief in the program from the president of the board as well as the higher management (managers that report directly to the general manager). We have to point out that the president himself is one of the Mentors of the program every year.
  • We always update the program with the most recent practices and needs of the market. We started Mentoring based on the popular Grow model and in 2010 we adopted the Solution Focus approach, which gains more followers in the last years.
  • We use specific questionnaire, which is based on the S&B Ability model in order for the Mentee to establish the areas he/she wants to work on with his/her Mentor. In other words, we have adapted the program to the company’s needs. 
  • At the same time, we adapt the program according to the culture and structure changes of the company. Therefore, we are able to apply this practice in all geographical areas that we cover taking advantage of the latest technology in telecommunication. In the cases where the Mentor and Mentee are in different geographical areas, in order to complete their meetings, we use Unified Communications, which offer high quality voice and video conferencing, instant messaging, application sharing & collaboration. 
  • We receive feedback both from the Mentees as well as the Mentors, during and at the end of each cycle, and we apply necessary changes in order to constantly improve the program.

Collaborating with Atom-Wave

We collaborate closely with Atom-Wave for the Mentoring program. We started the program with Olympia Mitsopoulou in 2007 and with her help and positive input we have been building on it since then. The professionalism, the focus on the clients’ needs as well as the honest relationship of trust that we have developed are fundamental criteria for a successful collaboration. In S&B we believe in the added value such a program offers to the personal as well as professional development of a manager. The success of the program is constantly proven by the positive feedback we get both from the Mentors as well as the Mentees over the last years.


What clients said....

”Highly interactive program delivered with structure and impact. Equips individuals with solid techniques/ skills that can be applied immediately to increase personal and organisational effectiveness. The program materials are of the highest quality and the best practices takeaways are useful resources that our people can quickly add to their toolkits.”

Natasha SPIROU,
Group Human Resources Director Fourlis Holdings S.A.

“Exceptional development program. ...the program contributes to increased business results like sales increase, better team collaboration, trust building and more effective delegation, and better time management.”

Training and Development Deputy Director ALPHA BANK

"The S&B Mentoring program we co-designed with Atom Wave has been running successfully since 2007. [...] The professionalism, the client focus and the trust relationship between us, have been successful criteria for our collaboration."

Management Development Manager S&B Industrial Minerals