Five high profile London boroughs (City of London Corporation, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster City Council, London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London Borough of Ealing) joined forces in 2008 to develop a unique cross borough mentoring programme. Recognising the importance of sharing knowledge between boroughs, they worked together to create an on line mentoring system – MyMentor. The system enables tailored matching of mentor and mentee and helps to manage the mentoring relationship across different authorities. The scheme now has 18 participating organisations and is still growing.
The founding boroughs understood the importance of creating a training programme to support the implementation of the scheme, to ensure mentors and mentees both get the most out of a mentoring relationship.
Working closely with the boroughs, Focal Point designed a programme of half day workshops, which was initially rolled out across all 5 boroughs prior to the launch of the programme and is now run regularly for all participating organisations. The workshops look at what mentoring is and how it can help development and particularly focus on the skills needed to mentor effectively. Using practical exercises, the sessions help participants develop their questioning, listening skills and rapport building skills, help them in drawing up a mentoring contract and explore how to deal with any challenges that might occur during a mentoring relationship.
Charl Nagel MyMentor project lead at the City of London Corporation says “Focal Point is an invaluable partner in terms of delivering the training to support this programme. The workshops are a key part of ensuring the mentoring scheme is successful, by giving potential mentors and mentees the confidence to enter into a mentoring relationship and make it really effective. The feedback from the sessions is always really positive and helps to ensure we create an ongoing pool of mentors and mentees. We work with Focal Point on a number of projects, as they always take time to understand what we need and deliver workshops which are highly relevant and engaging.”