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The Cityparents Mentoring Scheme

Frequently Asked Questions – Autumn/Winter 2016

1 Q: What is the Cityparents Mentoring Scheme for?

A:  For the mentor to offer the mentee a supportive and confidential environment in which to discuss and think through issues regarding her/his work and parenting role from the perspective of managing her/his career progression and work-life balance.

2 Q: Who is able to apply to join the Cityparents Mentoring Scheme?

A:  We invite mentor applications from senior-level men and women who have experience balancing parenting with a progressive career in a ‘City’ profession, or who are sensitive to the issues involved in doing so. We invite mentee applications from men and women looking for a supportive and confidential environment in which to discuss and think through issues regarding their work and parenting roles from the perspective of managing their career progression and work-life balance.

3 Q:  What sort topics might be discussed during the course of a mentoring relationship?        

A:  This is for the mentee and mentor to choose between themselves, with the mentee driving the process.  Typical areas are matters such as career planning, work/life balance, tips for pursuing personal goals and objectives, communication and influencing, raising profile, personal confidence and focussing on a specific skill to improve.

4 Q:  How long does the mentoring relationship last and how often do we meet?                   

A:  The relationship is assumed by Cityparents to last for a maximum of a year, after which you are of course free to remain in contact, but as individuals rather than members of the Scheme.  We ask you agree to meet approximately every six weeks for a year.

5 Q: Does a mentor need to have specific knowledge of a mentee’s area of work?

A: We don’t consider this necessary because we all work within the same broad business environment in the City and can share common experiences; however some mentees may prefer to work with a mentor in her/his area of work, and we try to accommodate this where possible.

6 Q: How do I apply to be a member of the Scheme?

A: Both mentors and mentees need to apply at a time when a window for applications is open.  Application windows are expected to open approximately every six months, and network members will be notified at least a week in advance.  During the application period, prospective mentors need to fill out an Application Form, and prospective mentees need to complete an “Expression of Interest” form. 

During an application window, prospective mentors and mentees can enter the Cityparents Mentoring Scheme in one of two ways 

Direct Application Mentoring

Individuals can apply directly to the Scheme via our website. We cannot guarantee that applicants will be selected as typically mentee applications significantly outnumber mentor applications; if, however, applicants are successfully matched, mentees are asked to pay an individual cost of £100.

Group Application Mentoring

Alternatively, employers can remove this cost burden from the individual and reserve places in the Cityparents Mentoring Scheme for specific numbers of mentees and mentors, through Corporate Access Mentoring. Employers may submit up to 5 mentees into the Scheme, and must submit an equivalent number of mentors in order to take part. Mentors should have at least 10 years’ professional experience but are not required to have prior experience of mentoring. Both mentors and mentees need to confirm they have read the Cityparents Mentoring Code and, if placed in the scheme, agree to abide by the Code.  Please note: mentees will always be matched with a mentor outside their own firm. For more information about Group Application Mentoring please read this document here.

7 Q: Can a mentor have more than one mentee?

A: Yes, there is an opportunity for mentors to indicate if would like to mentor more than one person.

8 Q: What if a mentee wishes to specify a preference for either a male or female mentor?

A: You can indicate this on your application form.

9 Q:  Can I apply to be both a mentor and a mentee? 

A:  Yes, you would need to complete both the Application Form for prospective mentors, and Expression of Interest form for prospective mentees.

10 Q:  How sure can I be that I will be matched? 

A: We cannot guarantee you will be matched as we do not know on any occasion how many people will apply to the scheme or what criterion they will indicate are most important to them in their mentoring pair.  In our view, having periodic application windows rather than a rolling process of applications increases the chances of making successful matches. If you require more certainty as to the likelihood you will be matched, please ask your employer to enter you into the Scheme via Group Application Mentoring. Under Group Application Mentoring, employers can submit names of individuals they wish to be matched under our Scheme, and the cost burden is taken by the employer rather than the individual.

11 Q:  What happens after the application window has closed?                                                      

A:  Applications are processed by our partner organization who assists in administrating the scheme, Women Ahead, under the direction of Esther Cavett, the Scheme Director.   Shortly after the window has closed, prospective mentees who have completed an “Expression of Interest Form” will receive an Application Confirmation Form to complete.  This form contains anonymised details of the mentors, and mentees have the opportunity to express a preference for mentors listed.

12 Q:  Is there a fee to be a member of the Scheme?                                                                     

A:  There is no charge for mentors to join the Scheme.  Mentees are asked to pay £100 to cover administration costs of the scheme at the point they fill out their Application Confirmation Form.  This is the case even for Gold Pass Holders or people whose organizations are Corporate Access Pass holders for Citymothers and Cityfathers events. However, if you are entered into the Scheme via Group Application Mentoring, your employer takes this cost burden and as a result there is no individual fee payable.  

13 Q:  What happens to my fee if I am not successfully matched?                                         

A:  If mentees are not successfully matched, they will receive £90 of their £100 administration fee back.  We do not return the full fee because a significant proportion of the cost of the Scheme occurs in the up-front matching process, and the £10 retention is a small contribution towards our costs.

14 Q:  How do Women Ahead and the Scheme Director do the matching?                                  

A:  The initial matching is based on mentee preferences specified in their Application Confirmation Forms; thereafter matching is on the basis of best fit determined by other questions asked in the Application Confirmation Form and, in the case of mentees, your selection from anonymised mentor biographies.

15 Q: You say the Scheme is to allow mentoring between organizations.  How do you ensure that I’m not matched with someone from my own organization? 

A: We ask people to identify their organisation when they apply to the scheme.  This information is not communicated generally to other applicants but allows us to avoid such matches. 

16 Q: How long will it take for me to be paired up with a mentee?

A: We aim to match mentors and mentees as soon as possible after we receive your application and we will aim to match the majority of people within 6 weeks closing of the application window, but sometimes it can take longer.

17 Q:  If I’m matched, when do I contact my mentoring pair? 

A: Mentoring pairs are notified by Women Ahead that they have been matched, and you will be asked to contact each other within 10 days of receiving the matching email, to establish that you are happy to work together. If you do not do so, you might not be able to continue within the Scheme.  In the unlikely event that you do not hear from your mentoring pair within 10 days, please let us know and we will chase and if necessary, attempt to rematch you.

18 Q: What should I cover in the first mentoring session?

A: We suggest various ways to “break the ice”, by discovering connections between you, talking around current work projects, career accomplishments and common interests and then finally that you ensure you have a clear agreement as to how you contact each other to arrange meetings, when and where you will meet, who will be responsible for setting up meetings and other practical matters.

19 Q: Must the mentoring meetings be in person, or can they happen in other ways?         

A:  We suggest that your first full-length meeting happens in person, because it is easiest to get to know one another that way.  After that it is up to you whether you continue with face-to-face meetings or move to Skype or equivalent. 

20 Q: Who arranges the meetings?

A: We suggest that the mentee takes responsibility for this, and confirms the meeting shortly in advance of it happening, though exact details of arrangements can be agreed between yourselves.  As a courtesy, we suggest you do not cancel meetings at short notice unless it is really impossible to avoid.

21 Q: What if the mentoring relationship doesn’t appear to be working out?

A: There could be a variety of reason for this and we ask that you first discuss any issues directly with your mentoring partner unless you feel that is impossible, or otherwise with the Scheme Director and she will get in touch with your mentoring partner if you wish her to assist. Either way, please inform the Scheme Director as soon as possible if you feel the relationship is not working out.  Please note that, once you have confirmed you are happy with your match, if you decide you no longer wish to proceed for any reason the mentee fee will not be refunded except in exceptional circumstances.  Cityparents may try to find you an alternative mentoring pair, but for practical reasons this may not be possible; if it is not, if you wish to continue in the scheme you will need to apply through the next application window in the normal way.  

22 Q: How do you ensure the quality of the Scheme?                                                        

A:  In a number of ways.  First, we ask applicants to read and comply with the Cityparents Mentoring Scheme Code, which you can read here. The Code was designed by the Scheme Director in conjunction with the Cityparents Network Committee and contains our ethical code, based on best practise from a variety of relevant sources including the European Mentoring and Coaching Council, the Association of Coaching and the British Psychological Society, and also takes into account our obligations under the Data Protection Act.  Secondly, our Mentoring Scheme Director is available to mentees and mentors to answer queries during the course of your membership.  Thirdly, we provide an online induction to the scheme and conference calls and other support during the course of your membership, and ask for your feedback periodically.  

23 Q: How do you obtain feedback?

We will typically ask for your feedback in survey or email form.  If you do not respond electronically, as stated in the Code, we may follow up by phone to the number provided in your application form.  We do not want to intrude but it is extremely important for the efficacy of the scheme that we monitor the scheme regularly.