Mentoring means different things to different people; what does it mean to you?

February 13, 2012

There’s no right way or wrong way to approach Mentoring, Coaching or Critical Friends – other than helping clients identify and achieve goals more efficiently. Or is there? How does this work for us all in the real world…….

To find out, please complete my brief survey.

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I can think of many examples where Mentoring has been of great benefit to clients, particularly in the field of talent management.

Here are two. Entrepreneur magazine found that strong Mentor programmes helped small-business owners attract and retain employees and a Fortune 500 company was able to reduce the turnover rate of its employees, with fewer than three years experience, from 50 to 20 percent through investment in a Mentor programme.

So how does Mentoring impact on smaller organisations? That’s what I want to explore. For example, would you find it useful to have a Mentor to:

  • Bounce ideas off?
  • Help you identify the right direction for your organisation?
  • Keep you focussed on the key issues?
  • Provide a confidential sounding board?
  • Work ‘on’, rather than ‘in’ your business?
  • Encourage and motivate you in these stressful and challenging times?
  • Help you identify and achieve your business goals?

So, what’s important to you – what works and what doesn’t?

To find out, click HERE to complete my brief survey.

When you do, I will share the results with you through my report, ‘Mentoring in the East Anglia Business Community’ which will be published in the Spring.

Jonathan Wainwright enables organisations to create commercial success through digital marketing, traditional communications and team development.

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Why is the use of Coaching increasing?

January 17, 2011

The simple answer is because it achieves results; even for the most gifted. It would be unheard of for any of today’s top sports champions preparing without one, such is the value that a Coach brings. The same is becoming true within the business world.

So, how can it help?

In today’s market, the challenge is to achieve more with less resource and the timeframes that we have to work within are being compressed too. Keeping up, let alone getting ahead of the game is becoming more and more demanding.

That’s why a study of Fortune 500 Companies found that nearly 40% use Executive Coaching as part of their Leadership development process to help people become more productive.

Unlike Training, Coaching directly translates into doing activity that is directly relevant and this translates into business impact. And this is achieved regardless of the size of organisation.

Coaching is an excellent way of improving leadership and management skills, orientating staff to a new role or job task and generally improving staff interactions, as it can help individuals align themselves to colleagues working styles.

CIPD research has identified that the nine drivers that create a need for Coaching are:

– Rapidly evolving markets
– Individual responsibility for development
– Financial impact of poor performance
– Development strategy
– Supports other learning
– Requested by employees
– Need for lifelong learning
– Improves decision making
– Targeted, just in time development

The Manchester Group reported that moving from Training to a combination of Training and Coaching increased productivity from 22 to 88%.

Is that the kind of result you would like to achieve? Then let’s discuss.

Call me on 07971 006 446 or join me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

How to create winning business ideas – part two

August 17, 2010

If you followed my idea from last week, you will have added a new dimension to Brainstorming, to make it more productive. Now that you have gathered information specific to your market and the issue you want to solve, what do you do next?

I’m going to describe the next stage in the process, but before I do click here if you want to read part one .

The next challenge, after the information gathering, is to mentally chew over and digest all this information. It is difficult to describe a type of thought process that goes on inside someone’s head, so bear with me.

Minutely examine each piece of information, from as many perspectives and contexts as you can. Really get to know it inside out; just like the character of a good friend. Then lay the bits of information out in your mind, like the pieces of a jigsaw on a table, and start to bring different pieces next to each other.

Explore their relationship with each other. Where are the connections? Can you somehow get them to fit together?

At this point you are not looking for solutions, simply to bring facts together that seem to have some sort of a relationship with each other, however vague.

Don’t try to examine this information too literally or directly. It’s like listening to music, rather than working out from the score what it will sound like.

Two things will now start to happen.

Firstly, you will get fragments of half ideas. However incomplete or crazy they sound, write them down – it helps the mental digestion process.

Secondly, when you start to get mentally tired – work through this and keep going – you will soon get your second layer of mental energy.

Once you get your second layer of mental energy, keep going, don’t stop too soon. Only stop when everything has become a completely hopeless jumble in your mind. No clear insights, no answers – everything just seems to be spinning about. When you have reached this point the second stage of the process is complete.

Next week I’ll describe what to do next, the last part of the process. If you click on the subscribe link, top right, the post will be sent to you automatically.

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How can you keep your staff motivated in difficult times?

July 12, 2010

Downturn, redundancy, pay freezes, recession are not words that inspire and motivate staff. So in times such as we have now, here are some ideas to help you keep your staff focussed, positive and getting a buzz out of working for your organisation.

The CIPD, in a survey of 2000 workers in 2007, established that 43% of employees are dissatisfied with the relationship they have with their line Manager. I doubt that this situation has improved.

The reasons for this are also strikingly clear:

– Poor Work/Life balance.
– Poor acknowledgement of their performance.
– Poor prospects, stuck in the same role for too long.
– Poor communication from the top.

So here are four ways to stop this happening?

1. Start a Talent Management Programme – encourage individual’s to develop their talents and skills within a blame free culture.
2. Communicate your organisation’s vision and strategy. Clearly show how decisions are reached and the direction the organisation is going. Make this a priority and make it precise.
3. Create a Coaching and Learning Culture. Encourage staff to work outside of their comfort zones to provide a challenge and help with their self development.
4. Introduce a 360 degree evaluation process, so that any Manager/Staff issues can be identified and worked through.

These activities will all help reduce staff turnover, motivate staff and help them achieve better performance for your organisation.

When you consider the disruption that staff leaving causes and the cost of recruitment and initial training, this type of activity is one of the best investments you can make in today’s challenging times.

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Up to £5,000 training contribution to help make YOUR business more competitive

November 16, 2009

Grants are available now, to organisations with fewer than 250 employees based in the EEDA area, to address a wide range of business needs.iStock_000009349745XSmall[1] 

The aim is to support organisations who have identified a critical need get in to shape and beat their competition. 

This programme, which gives access to up to 50% of the cost of the training (from £100, up to £5,000) is running now.  It’s being delivered across 10 sectors, which have been identified as key economic drivers, in the East of England.

If your business in these sectors – you could be eligible:

  1. Automotive and High-Tech manufacture
  2. Creative Sector
  3. Financial Services
  4. Food and Drink Processing
  5. Life Sciences and Healthcare
  6. Low Carbon and Sustainable Technologies
  7. Social Enterprise
  8. Sustainable Communities and the Built Environment
  9. Tourism and Olympics 2012
  10. Transport Gateways.

I can help you:

  1. Identify  the business area where you will get the most benefit
  2. Scope the content and KPI’s of the training required to help you succeed
  3. Provide guidance to apply for the funding
  4. Deliver a training programme to achieve the goals you wish to achieve.

If you want to equip your business with new skills to succeed, call me on 07971 006 446 or email

What can you do if your star salesman’s upsetting the team?

October 12, 2009

Here are a few strategies to get the whole team pulling together should you find yourself in this situation.

Star salesmanIt can happen.  The team are struggling to achieve target, yet one salesman is consistently ahead of the game.  They won’t share leads, don’t follow the sales process and fail to put in the figures and paperwork on time.

You don’t want to lose them, because they are delivering business.  Yet at the same time they are de-motivating the rest of the team and not towing the corporate line; neither of which are a good thing and could encourage others to leave.

The start point is to accept that these folk are high maintenance and that there are big egos and pride at stake here.  Often they don’t wish to be promoted because their motivation is achieving the numbers and being paid big bonuses when they do so.

To tame this tiger (or tigress) will require finesse, skill and a delicate touch.  So start by spending time with them.  Find out what makes them tick, get to understand what drives them and then build on this.  For example, if recognition is key, turn some of their customers into detailed case studies – get their clients to highlight the ‘Added Value’ that the individual brings and acknowledge this. 

Perhaps they get frustrated by ‘red tape’.  If they do, a junior staff member can job shadow them and help with the administration. 

It might be that they just don’t agree with the sales process.  If so, get them to identify the stages they go through – perhaps it’s something that could be used to develop the overall sales training approach?

It’s about getting closer to these individuals and using their skills to highlight additional opportunity for the organisation.  By spending time with them and getting them involved on this level, you can achieve this. 

If you would like a few suggestions how this can be practically applied to your business, give me a call on 07971 006 446 and we can talk it through.

Don’t let conference inertia creep into your business

September 30, 2009

Group PhotoYou’ve just had the conference or team meeting, the staff got wildly enthusiastic and everyone’s excited about the future, but when next week arrives it’s back to normal.  ‘What next’?

‘What next’ is perhaps, the most crucial aspect of conference planning, as it is really the starting point?  So, it is essential that all the participants go away with a clear message of what needs doing next, and how it will be achieved. 

And the only way to do this is through continuity.

And by this I mean constructing a route through the whole process. 

It will go something like this; keynote speeches feed in to relevant workshops, which result in identified strategies and objectives, which are translated into workplace action, measured through the achievement of KPI’s, rewarded through performance remuneration and followed-up through 1 two 1’s, resulting in feedback to complete the loop.

This is much more difficult to construct in practice, as it is so easy to overcomplicate matters.

Maintaining clear goals with clarity is absolutely essential.  The temptation is always to add a bit more. 

And in this case more is less, so resist it.

So, there you are.  When you plan your next event, think backwards!