Board Chairs of the Future - mentoring scheme: end of scheme report

Evaluation report for a mentoring project to develop a pipeline Board Chairs of the future for public bodies in Scotland from groups currently under-represented at Board Chair level. This covers the iteration of this project which ran from August 2019 to November 2020.

Impact of the Scheme

Have mentees applied for Chair roles and been successful within the course of this iteration of the project?

During the time period of this iteration of the project, 12 regulated Board Chair roles were advertised on Appointed for Scotland; note that there was a hiatus in most appointment recruitment activity because of Covid. As at 30 November 2020 none of the mentees have applied for a public body Chair post during the progress of the project.

Have mentees decided that they would be keen to apply for Chair roles in the future?

Some of the mentees have stated that it is their intention to apply for a Board Chair role when a suitable vacancy arises. In addition, a couple of the mentees have reported in recent months they have 'stepped up' in taking on more responsibility including taking on chairing roles of sub committees which is a direct consequence of taking part in the scheme.

What has been the impact on individuals' development because of the project?

There are three main areas of impact that the mentoring scheme has had on individuals taking part in the scheme:

  • skills
  • knowledge
  • understanding of the Chair role.

Quoted below is some feedback received at the regular workshops during the course of the scheme below:


  • "I have learnt how to deal with different situations and being able to constructively challenge without this being perceived as confrontational".
  • "The mentoring project has allowed me the opportunity for reflection on the skills required to be an effective Chair".
  • "As a mentor this has allowed me the opportunity to be able to learn from the other person on their experience. It has very much been a two way process".
  • "The scheme has increased my confidence and ability in taking on more responsibility including chairing a Board sub-committee".


  • "I have gained a clearer understanding of the relationship between Chair and executive officers".
  • "I have been able to consolidate my existing knowledge and the need to embrace values of fairness and kindness".
  • "I have learnt effective leadership is not just about chairing but about leading an organisation through change and how this is delivered in supporting the organisation and how it responds to the challenges ahead".
  • "I have been learning how to encourage all Board members to participate; and the need to be able to challenge/understand those members of the Board that do not contribute".
  • "I have learnt as Board Chair of the need to maintain effective relationships that engender trust and create an environment of no surprises".

Understanding of the role of the Board Chair

  • "I now have a better understanding of the key relationships required along with the need for trust and transparency".
  • "The mentoring scheme has, through my mentor sharing experiences, given me a clearer understanding of the skills required to effectively Chair a public body".
  • "I have a better understanding of the Board Chair's role in dealing with Government, Ministers and other key stakeholders".
  • "In addition to Ministers, I now have an understanding of the need to maintain a good relationship with the Sponsor branch and public body Chief Executive".
  • "I now have a better understanding of the importance of establishing a view from the Board rather than 'rubber stamping' decisions for the Executive".

For the Board Chairs an unintended yet fairly consistent impact reported has been that they found themselves benefiting from reflecting on practice and how things are done, including thinking about different leadership styles and passing on knowledge and skills they have accumulated. For example:

  • "Being a mentor has allowed me to reflect and evaluate how I have gained the knowledge I have and whether I wish to share this knowledge/skills to another individual".
  • "The experience has also allowed me the opportunity to be able to learn from my mentee on their experience and ways of doing things, which has allowed me to think and reflect on my own practice".



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