Re-energising your mentoring conversations

Re-energising your mentoring conversations

January is a good time to re-energise your mentoring and other career development conversations. How can you make sure that your good intentions will continue to receive the attention and priority they deserve? Sarah Tennant, Cityparents Mentoring Programme Adviser and Executive Coach, shares some suggestions.

If you are currently in a mentoring partnership, the start of a new year is the ideal time to reflect together on the progress you have made so far and to identify how you can stay focussed over the coming months. What do you need to do to maintain momentum and make any changes? Do you have the right degree of clarity, support and resources that you need to do so?

Have your Goals changed?

The first consideration is whether or not your original objectives for finding a mentor are the same, or if something has changed. By reviewing where you are now in relation to when you sought your mentor, you will gain clarity and a greater sense of direction.

Maybe you feel that seeking promotion where you are is no longer the answer, or perhaps you are struggling to manage the transition back to work following a period of leave and things are quite different from what you expected them to be. Whatever your reasons for being mentored or seeking advice, you might find it useful to explore what is working well for you, and what not so well at this point. This will help you to determine how you might best move forward, and whether or not you are currently focussing on the right things.


The new year is characterised as a time of renewal and for setting resolutions. Yet all too soon we can find ourselves heading towards February and bogged down by the day to day again. A useful exercise to help work out what is important, rather than urgent, is widely referred to as ‘Covey’s Rocks’ as it was popularised by Stephen Covey, management expert and author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. There is an interesting article on this in Business Insider, which you can read here. It demonstrates how critical it is to make sure that we take care to work out what is most significant to our aims, and how if we pay attention to these first, those every day duties and obligations can also be taken care of, but not be allowed to detract from what will lead us to success or fulfilment.

Exploring Options

Once your priorities for the next few months are clear it is a good idea to take your time to explore all of the options in front of you. The following questions can help:

  • What specifically will you do?
  • When will you do it?
  • What support might you need?

The process of mind mapping can be helpful here, as well as input from your mentor. This will help you work out, or refine, your plan of action. Asking your mentor to provide a form of  accountability can potentially reap rewards in helping you to make the changes that you would like to make. As well as identifying who, or what, else might help you keep focus.

Maintaining momentum and support

Reigniting your career and development goals can ultimately be rewarding. Accessing the right kind of support and carving out time to think things through with someone else can be a key success factor in this. If you are currently participating in our Mentoring Scheme, or signed up to our Mentoring Programme, which you can do here, our first Mentoring Surgery takes place on Tuesday 28th January at Cooley LLP. The session will include some interactive exercises used to help us develop coaching and mentoring skills. We will take a deeper dive into some tools and techniques that can help both mentee and mentor, such as listening, questioning and increasing self-awareness. It is also an opportunity to ask questions and network. To book please follow the link here.

In addition, look out for the forthcoming Mentoring Circles events. Each of these focus on a particular topic and are aimed at members who are considering a significant career move and/or facing a crossroads in their career. Each event will focus on a particular theme. The sessions will combine expert advice with small group discussions and will give attendees the opportunity to:

  • Reflect on their current situation and future plans and share these in confidence with others in the room
  • Hear career advice from Sarah Tennant
  • Exchange experiences, issues and ideas collaboratively with peers from across the City
  • Enhance their continuing professional development and career progression.

Sarah Tennant is our Mentoring Programme Adviser. She is an Executive Coach and Facilitator, accredited by the Association for Coaching (AC), working across industries with individuals and teams and specialising in leadership development, career transition, parental leave and women returners. Sarah established SLT Executive Coaching to provide people facing career ‘pressure points’ with a positive and collaborative space to be heard, reflect and to devise strategies to manage transition points of their careers.

Released On 13th Jan 2020


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