Advice for prospective mentors on National Mentoring Day 2020

Chris Tucker, a former mentor and employee at Lloyds Banking Group takes us through the value of mentoring at a time when charities are facing incredible challenges and are #NeverMoreNeeded

The sector has seen significant challenges over 2020 as the pandemic affects every aspect of people’s lives. Small to medium-sized charities have responded incredibly to those experiencing complex socials issues. Charities are now at even greater risk, despite facing a loss of income they are rapidly adjusting how they operate while responding to an increase in demand.

At a time when charities are #NeverMoreNeeded, mentoring can offer vital support, insight and guidance to face obstacles, as well as a critical ‘friend support’ to talk through specific issues leaders are facing.

At Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, we offer mentoring for our charity partners, with the opportunity to form a mentor/mentee relationship with senior Lloyds Banking Group staff. On National Mentoring Day 2020, we spoke to Chris Tucker, former Lloyds Banking Group Risk Division and former mentor for advice on those looking to embark on a mentoring journey.

 


 

Why should I be a mentor?

I think it is important to start with your motivation, and only then move on to the practicalities of the ways in which you can help.

So why are you considering this? Is it to do with supporting a cause close to your heart? Is it for a new challenge? Is it an opportunity to share your experience and give something back? It can be any one of those, or a combination of them, or something different altogether! Just make sure you know why you are stepping up, and be comfortable with some of those reasons and motivations changing over time.

With that established you will be better placed to overcome any crisis of confidence about what you can possibly say to help a charity CEO, or how can you know what will help them? And be upfront with them about that.

 

What lessons have I learnt?

Never lose sight of the fact that it’s a conversation between equals, both of whom might initially be a little unsure of how this will work, what to talk about and what’s supposed to happen.

You might like to establish ground rules and a clear repeating agenda at the outset, or you might be happier to just go with the conversation each time. Do whatever works for both of you.

Also, it can be easy from the outside to focus on the good work the charity does, and only later come to realise how much that CEO is effectively running a small business, with all of the headaches, challenges and administration that comes with it.

So, don’t be afraid to be a bit of cheerleader, to remind them of all the good things they are doing, and encourage them to try and share some of the load where possible.

 

What words of wisdom would I pass on?

First, don’t think that you need to have some kind of action list, and that things are only going well if you are ticking those items off.

Your mentee will often find more value in just having an open conversation, and perhaps being able to talk aloud about stuff they have no one else to discuss it with – and in doing so explore options and next steps.

Second, be aware that while you are there to help, the mentoring arrangement might still be a burden from time to time. So, work to the mentee’s schedule, focus on what they would like to discuss, let them set the frequency and style of your interactions, make life easy. And then when you speak make sure you are open and honest. Be that critical friend they need, encouraging where appropriate and challenging and offering different views when useful.

 

Learn more about the value of mentoring