What does a mentor do?

We’re delighted to have Phil Jackman, Director of Guerrilla Working, as a mentor at our first Speed Mentoring event on 4 April.  We asked Phil for his thoughts on the role of a mentor…


I know a few people who are also involved as mentors and all of us feel the same sense of satisfaction from engaging with people and helping them to get their heads around whatever they are struggling worth.

My aim during the sessions is not to solve problems or even to advise people how to solve their problems. It is my firm belief that it is best if they do this themselves or, even better, in conjunction with their work colleagues. I don’t know enough about their business to be able to give that level of detailed information that they crave.

Instead, my aim is to help them to think about the way they approach the issues that they have by asking them questions, such as why is this a problem  or what is it you are hoping to achieve or what is it that you expect others to do.

Most people already have the answers to their issues in their heads and they merely need a little probing for them to come out. Through talking with them and listening to what they are saying, they hint at things they are concerned about yet haven’t addressed head on.

As I say in our conversation, it is not a test. There are no right or wrong answers and my role is not to judge them but rather to challenge their thinking and assumptions, to help them dismantle their approaches and put them back together again in a different order.

The beauty is that while I am doing this with them, they are also doing it with me. I challenge my own assumptions using them as a mirror. I learn so much about myself.

I would recommend mentoring to everyone.


Book your place now if you’d like to come along for a one to one session with Phil and any other of our six fantastic mentors at 50:50 Speed Mentoring on 4 April in Newcastle.