Ahead of our first Mentor Awards at 21 October #Alumni500 celebration, we’re inviting alumni and mentor to tell us what they got out of the mentoring experience. To kick-off, FoL Head of Networks and Future London Leaders 21 graduate Oli Pinch shares his experience.
In January 2019 I was enrolled on the Future London Leaders course. As a FoL employee, I had some idea of what to expect on the programme and was excited to get going.
The part of the programme I was less sure about was the mentoring. I had heard only good things but, as many of you know, all leaders course candidates are matched with a mentor – the choice is taken out of your hands! So, it’s interesting to learn who they are and work out why you’ve been matched.
We met in a Lewis Silkin office corridor over a drink (sound familiar?) and quickly started talking. It’s a slightly nerve-wracking experience, as you know they are senior, worldly and wise and you are (probably) less so.
Nonetheless, we got on and met regularly throughout the course. From the beginning he took an interest in me and my perspective, taking me to a live construction site, a client’s offices and (once or twice) to a pub or café.
Our meetings covered much ground and helped me refine my waterways-themed Proposal for London. Critically though, it also helped translate my Strength Deployment Inventory (better known as SDI) results into being a more effective leader, and this is where leadership course content meets mentoring and their worth multiplies.
Experiences differ for everyone of course and mentor can morph into coach when you need a lift or tough love, and this is probably the real value of the mentoring programme. As long as you’re open and respectful, it can be whatever you need it to be – career advice, problem solving, an introduction, pep talk, gossip.
It’s worth highlighting that mentors give their time for free, but the experience, perspective, advice and connections gained are probably priceless. And this is a big driver behind FoL’s first mentor awards.
To celebrate mentors’ valuable contribution to our courses and candidates, we invite you to nominate your favourite(s) for Future of London’s first annual mentor awards!
This is open to anyone with experience of FoL’s mentoring programme – other mentors, nominators and course contributors, and, of course, alumni. Winners will be announced at the 21 October #Alumni500 celebration at Royal Festival Hall. So please tell us who you’re nominating and why. I know I will be.
FoL’s Mentor Awards are sponsored by Lovell.