My mentor is my chief executive, Ian Munro, who is also my line manager. He was a significant part of my reason for joining the group eight years ago. His reputation preceded him. We hadn’t met before I joined the group, but we shared a coach.
We have completely different professional backgrounds and management styles. Our mentoring relationship started out as a coaching one, before progressing to regular meetings. We’ve met every two to three months for the last four or five years.
What particularly impressed me about Ian is that he asks the simplest questions – yet as soon as you hear them, you ask yourself ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’. His questions are so obvious that they cut through the fluff and really move my thinking on. He almost gives me permission to take risks and, if something goes wrong, we look at what I can learn.
I really value Ian’s emotional intelligence – his ability to see where I am and to ask the right questions. He uses what he picks up about me to suggest alternative routes or actions. Ian really helped when I applied for my current role two-and-a-half years ago. He showed confidence in me, encouraged me to take risks and, once in the role, to make the necessary changes.
I have trained mentors before, and while I have had coaches or confidantes, Ian is my first real mentor. I appreciate having a mentor at this stage in my career – I can be truthful with him about what scares me.