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Want to be a mentor? Here’s some inspiration

28 Jul 2023

Our Tribe is all about giving back. Emergency supplies for Ukraine? Check. Helping children bond with nature? Double check. Every triumph we share both celebrates our team and highlights vital charity efforts. Plus, it inspires more people to join in and make a difference. 

Now, it’s Jack Jewell’s turn under the spotlight.

Our Landscape and Arboriculture Director has been mentoring with the East London Business Alliance’s Leadership in Partnership programme. Discover his experience so far and get some advice if you’re thinking of mentoring. 

How does the Leadership in Partnership programme work?

“It links up people from the private sector with those who work in charities and non-profits. This opens a chance for mentoring and coaching that might otherwise be off the table. 

“You team up with someone from these organisations for 10 months of one-on-one mentoring. For one hour a month, you’re the mentee’s sounding board, aiming to offer a fresh perspective, advice and support.  

“It’s about bridging the gap between ‘I wish’ and ‘I will’.”  

“The programme is designed to help people tackle their professional hurdles. As a mentor, you help them uncover solutions and seize opportunities. It’s a nudge for them to follow through on the things they’ve always wanted to do but perhaps lacked the confidence or perspective to pursue.” 

Why did you decide to take part?

“I’ve been a mentor at Tyler Grange for a while now. Enabling our team to voice their real ambitions. Even if it means they plan to venture beyond the company, we support that transparency and help guide them on their path, not ours. 

“This supportiveness ties into our philosophy around volunteering. Since the beginning, Tyler Grange has championed volunteering as a core value. In fact, we designed our four-day work week around it.  

“Our four-day work week isn’t just a perk, it’s an open door to create an impact.” 

“When I heard about the ELBA programme from colleagues, it sounded like a really interesting opportunity. Their experiences were inspiring, and the programme opened a whole new landscape of mentoring to explore. I could connect with someone from a different sector and hopefully make an impact while living up to our volunteering commitment.” 

Did you have a plan going into the programme?  

“No, if I’m being honest, I just hoped to make a difference in some way. I know it sounds a bit lofty, but that’s what I really wanted to achieve.  

“My main goal was to share my time and understand my mentee’s goals. If my support could steer them in some way, that would be a win for me.” 

“Also, every mentoring opportunity is unique. You can’t rely on the ‘this is how I’d do it’ strategy, especially in this case. My mentee was from a different industry, so my past experiences couldn’t guide the goal setting. It was more about enabling them to chart their course and figuring out the best ways to step towards those goals.” 

What are the sessions like?

“We kicked off with an in-person meeting and then transitioned into monthly video calls. During these catchups, we reflect on past meetings and recent happenings. It’s a space for discussion, reflection, and accountability – like setting mini-tasks or discussing goals. A typical conversation might go, ‘You said you’d tackle this, how did it go?’ The key is keeping the momentum going. 

“Being a mentor is about providing a reflective mirror to help anchor decision-making. It’s simple but effective.” 

“Most of us don’t pause to question what we truly want. To compare our current reality with our desires. To map out what we don’t have now but need to get where we want to be. I help my mentee articulate these things, write them down even, to keep their own promise to themselves.” 

What advice would you share with those considering mentoring? 

“If you’re with Tyler Grange, you can get mentor training. I’d advise anyone to take it up. It’s always better to enter the mentoring space well-prepared and guided. 

“Embrace the unknown. Sure, it takes time, a level of organisation, and honesty. You won’t know who you’ll be matched with, their background, or aspirations, but that’s part of the fun.” 

“It can be a massive learning curve. You won’t have all the answers, but you’re there to help. Remember, it’s about being a friendly and encouraging pillar of support. Being accountable is crucial. You’re the one arranging meetings, leading with the right questions, and checking in. Keep your mindset in check and never forget: it’s a wonderful thing to do good things.”  

Sharing stories, sparking change  

Our journey, led by inspiring individuals like Jack, is far from over. We aim to continue making waves, big or small, in the name of giving back.  

Keep an eye out for our latest volunteering news. Our goal is simple – we want to inspire everyone to spend a little of their free time helping others. 

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