1. Nominations of mentees: one of the key lessons from the pilot project was the need for participants to be nominated by their Board Chair rather than any self-nomination. This explicit nomination and support from the respective Board Chair allows feedback of skills development for the mentee during their time on the scheme. The nomination of Board members by Board Chairs resulted in a high calibre of mentees.
Aims of the scheme: one of the lessons learnt from the pilot project was the need to be clear on the scheme aims in respect of diversity in the literature. Seeking nominations of Board members from under-represented groups at Chair level was a priority. Representation from across different sectors and experience was achieved which was valued by the participants.
2. Mentees' own aims for participation: one of the lessons learnt from the pilot project was for participants to be clear about their aspirations to become a Board Chair and put together their project learning plan. Mentees worked with mentors to identify the skills they wanted to develop during their time on the scheme.
3. Demands on the mentors: invitations to be a mentor should be very clear about the mentor's role and what the scheme involves and the time commitment.
4. Length of mentoring relationship: one of the lessons learnt from the pilot project was to review the length of time required for participants to achieve their agreed learning plan outcomes. The length of the scheme was 12 months (although due to Covid was extended to 15 months). This was sufficient t for mentees to achieve their learning goals.
5. Early check-in on progress: one of the lessons learnt from the pilot project was to check in with mentors and mentees fairly quickly after the scheme commenced. This was to allow a temperature check on how things were going, establish whether contact had been made between the mentor and mentee, and to identify if there were any issues. This check-in early on in the mentoring process in this iteration of the project highlighted some issues which were resolved early on.
7. Workshop content: one of the lessons learnt from the pilot was to ask mentors and mentees for workshop themes. In this iteration participants wished to discuss strategies and approaches for dealing with Ministers. Board Chairs were able to share experiences and approaches they have taken in building and maintaining this key relationship. Discussion expanded to include dealing with media scrutiny and strategies used; a planned dedicated media training session was cancelled due to Covid. This approach to the workshops kept the focus on issues that Board Chairs deal with, whilst allowing discussion and shared learning.
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