Mentor training

Mentor Training Course for Women Business Owners

The Growing Club CIC is training a second group of mentors to support our start-up group. Mentoring plays an important role in supporting women in business and is recommended as a strategy for supporting recovery and long-term sustainability.

This is a comprehensive training course that will strengthen your leaderships skills, support your CPD and enable you to apply for paid mentoring opportunities.

This is a three-session course, running on Thursday 22nd April, 29th April and 6th May 2021. Sessions will run from 09.30 – 12.30 via Zoom or in Lancaster. You are required to attend all sessions.

Is it for me?

This funded opportunity is for you if you:

  • are a woman running a small business in the Lancaster District
  • have been trading for at least three years
  • can remember how hard the first few years in business can be!
  • want to support a woman starting her own small business 
  • can commit to a face-to-face session an hour a month for three years
  • understand the importance of mentoring as a tool of empowerment

Claire, a previous attendee and Growing Club Mentor, said:

“I found the training really insightful, from active listening skills to techniques of questioning and reflection to help empower fellow women in business to achieve their knowledge and goals. I’ve since gone on to train in coaching, with the mentoring training directly contributing towards my skills and capabilities.

“I love the fact that The Growing Club has such a strong ethic of women-supporting-women, and I’m happy to support a woman in business through her own personal journey.”

Application

The training is free if you commit to working with your mentee for three years. If we have spaces available, we are able to open up this training to others at a cost of £750.

Training will be delivered by Paul Aisthorpe and Nicola Combe. For more information, please email jane@thegrowingclub.co.uk or call 07521 314926. You can download the application form here and return to Jane.

self-compassion

Self-Compassion

This is an introduction to Self-Compassion, by The Growing Club’s Wellbeing officer, Sarah Ludford. Sarah will be running a Self-Compassion Series, starting on the 26th February 2021. Find out more here.

Compassion is an old word that is getting used a lot more of late but how many of us actually know what it means? The Latin root for the word compassion is pati, which means ‘to suffer’, and the prefix com – means ‘with’. Compassion, originating from compati, which means to suffer with. I like to think of the ‘with’ as being alongside. If we are alongside someone in their suffering then we are moving into the realm of empathy rather than sympathy or feeling sorry for someone. We accompany them so they are not alone in difficult times. 

Self-compassion, is being alongside myself. Sometimes, particularly at the moment, it can feel like we are alone most of the time, and yet the way the human brain works means that we are constantly talking to ourselves, constantly having conversations with ourselves. Some conversations that we might enjoy and some that might be harder to deal with. What this means is that is possible to be alongside ourselves, and to do this with compassion. The dialogues we have with ourselves could be compassionate and understanding rather than critical or blaming. 

Self-compassion came to me slowly. For a long time when I was dealing with challenges and trying to understand myself, I would push myself. I would be seeking to understand, trying to find the answer, trying to get to a resolution. It was painful because I was always trying to get somewhere, rather than being where I was.

Gradually, through the practice of being listened to and accompanied, by receiving empathy and compassion from others, I began to find compassion for myself. When things were out of balance, I would make a gentle and loving enquiry of myself. I would sit with my feelings and let them be there. I would get curious rather than impatient. And I found this to be so much more nourishing and supportive of my well-being and my personal growth. To accept and love myself in the moment and to open to the possibility of self-understanding and growth through the process. 

Discipline and drive can get us a long way but without kindness and compassion it can be an uncomfortable way to live. With self-compassion I can celebrate the highs and be accompanied in the lows. I can be present and supportive to myself and take the time to get curious about what is happening and what is important to me. If I can hold myself with compassion, then I can feel sad rather than being sad – which also means I hold the potential to feel happy at the same time! 

Dr Kristin Neff, author of Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself says:  

“Self-compassion is not based on positive judgments or evaluations, it is a way of relating to ourselves. People feel self-compassion because they are human beings, not because they are special and above average. It emphasizes interconnection rather than separateness. This means that with self-compassion, you don’t have to feel better than others to feel good about yourself. It also offers more emotional stability than self-esteem because it is always there for you – when you’re on top of the world and when you fall flat on your face.” 

Dr Kristin Neff

I find self-compassion to be a powerful tool and I am passionate about sharing it with others. And it’s not just about being gentle. Self-compassion can include coming to know ourselves better and that can be very empowering. The practice I work with – Nonviolent Communication – provides the tools not only for compassion but for a deep understanding of self and others, and for developing steps to care for myself, to communicate with clarity and love and to consider and care for everyone’s needs. 

I am excited about being able to offer this work to women as part of The Growing Club’s well-being programme. You can find out more and book here.

Sooad Patel

The Growing Club Stories: Soaad Patel

Soaad Patel is the owner of Ayesha’s Attire, an independent boutique providing high-quality clothing that helps busy women dress well to feel good. Here she shares her story about how her business started, and how The Growing Club has helped her gain confidence and create solid business foundations. Soaad took part in the 12-month Roots and Shoots course – The Growing Club’s start-up course.

I’m Soaad, and my business is called Ayesha’s Attire. It’s named after my five-year-old daughter. As a single mum, she is my inspiration. What drives me is to give us both a better life. Before having her, I was very into fashion and loved buying clothes. But when I became a single parent I had to rethink my finances. 

So I thought of the concept of buying pieces that I can wear over and over again, which are versatile and can be worn at home, or out with friends and so on. I also heard a lot of other women saying the same thing, so that’s why I started my business to help women buy affordable pieces which will go a long way. My pieces are modern, stylish and require minimal effort, you can dress them up with a belt or a scarf, but you don’t have to. Whether you’re a mum or a busy woman, these pieces help you look good. And when you look good, you feel good, and you have the confidence to tackle the day’s challenges.

Obviously, in this pandemic we’re spending a lot of time at home and want to be comfortable, but if you’re on a Zoom call you also have to be presentable. And this is what my business is all about, providing what women need in their new lifestyle, with high quality pieces you can keep for a long time, which are also comfortable.

I started my business last year before my daughter started school, but as she’s a child with a lot of energy, like most children that age, it was hard to concentrate on the business until she started in reception full time.

One of the reasons I started my own business was because I’ve always been a career-oriented person. I used to have five or six jobs at once, working in schools with children, and I loved it. When I became a mum, I felt like I’d lost that part of me, and I missed working, so I worked in retail for a while, but it didn’t have that problem-solving element which I enjoyed, so when a friend suggested I should start my own business, I started looking for suppliers, and it all went from there. 

Obviously, I didn’t know how to run a business and I knew I needed support so that’s when I found out about The Growing Club. I had a chat with Jane Binnion and found out about all their courses and really liked the community feel of it. I also liked the fact that there are women at all stages in their business involved in The Growing Club, so whatever stage you’re at, people will relate to you and can help you.

My business is still fairly new, but I know a lot more than I did. For example, I didn’t know about getting the foundations of your business in place, and I went 10 steps ahead. But now thanks to The Growing Club, I know how important it is to do the right steps in order to be successful and to have a concrete business.

In 2021 I would like to continue to build up my customer base and grow my mailing list. When we’re allowed, I want to do pop-up shops as well, as they’re a great way to connect with people.

I’d recommend to other women that they get to know the ethos of The Growing Club, because they’re not like other organisations. It’s a community where women often go through the courses and then become involved in delivering them to others. I’m helping to facilitate the Sowing Club, for example, and I know other women have been through courses and gone on to volunteer and work with The Growing Club too, which is fantastic. 

Overall, I’d say the main way that The Growing Club has helped me is with my confidence. I’m much more confident now than I was before I met Jane, and I’m really excited about the future of my business.

You can find Soaad’s website, Ayesha’s Attire, here or connect with her over on Facebook via her business page here.