From education to employment

Mentoring for World Class Leadership

A free mentoring service for managers is being offered by the Centre for Excellence in Leadership (CEL) as part of its drive to establish world class standards of leadership in the UK by 2010.

The mentoring is being offered to managers of all levels within Further Education, work-based learning and adult community learning. Among those volunteering their advice and guidance are principals, senior managers and ex-principals who have excelled in their own fields of management. The scheme’s distinct advantage is its lack of cost to participants, thus making it more attractive by presenting it as a simple, affordable solution.

As it is accessible to all regardless of rank or status, it does not discriminate against those with lower incomes, providing everyone with a unique opportunity to gain useful advice and develop their leadership skills. Another of the mentoring scheme’s strengths is the ability of the mentors to provide first hand, practical information from experienced professionals with an invaluable insight into and understanding of the day to day practicalities of a manager’s role.

Experience for success

The fact that the advice they provide is drawn from their own experiences greatly enhances the trustworthiness and reliability of the scheme. CEL’s main aim is to assist candidates in recognising the ways in which they can maximise their potential. CEL director of coaching and mentoring, Shaun Lincoln, described the mentor’s role as primarily that of a listener who is there to “act as a mirror, prompt, encourage and steer the individual towards ownership of their learning and places of action.”

The flexible approach offered by mentoring and the lack of a rigid structure characteristic of a management course also makes it more approachable and appealing. It is hoped that mentoring will trigger a shift from one level of management to another as well as assist managers in taking an impartial view of any event, improving their ability to place things in perspective. It is also designed to help managers achieve a balanced lifestyle, incorporating both the commitments of work and home.

Leadership for “Success for All”

The mentoring process is part of the government’s “Success for All” strategy which aims to significantly transform the standards of leadership and management across the country. Chief Executive of CEL, Lyne Sedgmore affirmed the project’s success, claiming it is a key tool for accelerating the development of high potential staff and a valuable induction experience for new staff members.

Peter Ryder, the new principal at Leeds College of Technology is one of many who has already benefited from the mentoring process. He described it as “a great learning experience” and an “invaluable” step in adapting to his new role and responsibilities.

Sara Hashash

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