For the last 5 years we have been recruiting and training women in business as mentors for the women graduating from our start-up programme.
If you have been wondering about being a mentor, we thought you might like to read the view from both sides.
Firstly, Rebecca Young, a branding designer, and young woman who graduated from her cohort in the middle of the pandemic and completed her mentoring at Christmas 2022.
“I was so grateful for the opportunity to work with a mentor as part of the Growing Club’s Roots and Shoots programme. I was paired with a brilliant mentor who I had a strong connection with. Together we created a space where there were no wrong answers and no achievement was too small to celebrate. I felt deeply understood, even when I couldn’t always find the words to express myself. It was wonderful to talk through my ideas with someone who I knew without a doubt was on my side. I left each monthly session feeling energised and positive.
My mentor taught me several practical techniques for managing my time and structuring my work week. This has been an important step towards overcoming feelings of anxiety and overwhelm as I work towards my business goals. She also supported me as I worked through projects with clients, and it was really special to share those experiences with her and hear her perspective. I now have a much clearer idea of the services I want to offer and an understanding of what clients will expect from me.
Perhaps the most important thing I have gained is the momentum to keep moving forward, one step at a time, even if my journey takes longer than someone else’s. I was really moved to hear from my mentor in our last session together that she enjoyed the experience too and is proud of what we achieved together.”
Whilst most of our mentors are local to North Lancashire / South Lakeland, Favour Onabanjo is one of our mentors who zooms in from Surrey. She is now working with her second mentee.
“I have been on the Growing Club mentoring scheme for over a year now. I really enjoyed it. Firstly, I love to offer help where I can; I also derive joy in helping others to be their best. That’s my motivator.
Being a business coach, I initially found it tricky to follow the mentoring model. I am used to coaching and handholding many of my paying clients. And one of my strengths which can sometimes turn into a weakness, is giving the DRIVE that my client needs to move ahead and succeed. So, the mentoring felt like, I wasn’t working in my best capacity, and I wasn’t comfortable with that. But once I got to the swing of things. I began to blend in. I realised I was here to encourage, listen, use examples to empower them, make suggestions etc.
How interesting a mentoring journey is will be determined mostly by your mentee. Whether they are ready to do the work to make the changes, they are looking to see. One of my mentees is supercharged. I always look forward to our meeting. She’s an action-taker and takes her personal development seriously.”
As you can see, two very different personality types, and that is why we take time to carefully match mentee and mentor for best fit. And furthermore, we hold bi-monthly mentor forum meetings for sharing and support. So we don’t just throw you in there and hope for the best!
If you would like to know more about being a mentor with us, or would like to sign up to the training which starts in April, please contact Rebecca by phone or email.
The Growing Club designs and delivers employment and enterprise training and support, by women for women.