Happy New Year!
What is it that I love about organisations and governance? I love helping organisations develop and flourish – which usually means helping people to feel that they are making a difference in an effective and efficient way. Sometimes it’s about reining in people’s enthusiasm and providing a structured approach. Often this isn’t seen as very exciting but the results can be as people take carefully planned steps to the achievement of their goals.
I have done some mentoring in the past, some on governance issues. I was helping to write a tender the other day for some work mentoring chief executives and boards in organisational development and capacity building and one question was about the relationship between mentor and mentee – which I think is the key issue to successful mentoring. I wrote this ..
A mentoring relationship has both personal and professional aspects. The one-to-one nature of mentoring means that there needs to be a good personal relationship but the provision of mentoring to a senior manager must ensure that the time used is productive and positive. Therefore it is key for mentors to establish their professionalism early on and bring a focus to the task of capacity building.
All third sector managers are busy and change management can be daunting – the mentor has to respect the manager and their skills and expertise whilst supporting learning and change. Organisations may ask for support to change but that change is not always welcome by everyone in the organisation. Our mentors are skilled at working towards positive change, clarifying steps to be taken and being supportive to those with the responsibility for change.
Developing a good relationship comes with clarification about the purpose of the relationship; with agreed roles and responsibilities; with setting goals, timescales and milestones; agreeing meeting frequency and communication means: and ensuring that the mentee has access to sufficient support outside of the mentoring relationship.
A mentoring relationship is judged on its usefulness and whether agreed outcomes have been achieved.
Whilst I have skills and experience from a variety of jobs and training, it is often the personal skills and psychological knowledge gained as a social worker and a manager (and a human being, daughter, mother, sister, friend ....) that are most important.
We can give our communities and congregations knowledge but if people are struggling then we also need to provide a relationship which recognises the human needs that will support and hinder change and development.