A couple of weeks back, Simon and I went to the Holiday Inn in Bloomsbury to attend a training workshop put on as part of the government’s Get Mentoring campaign. GM was announced by Vince Cable at BIS about a year ago as an initiative to stimulate growth in the SME sector, and to drive entrepreneurship generally. In the words of its website, “Get Mentoring is an initiative to unlock, train and support a community of enterprise mentors across the UK. Our aim is to recruit and train thousands of mentors from the micro, small and medium-sized business community.”

The morning-long session was given by a truly excellent trainer, John Sunderland-Wright (of Ultima Performance), whose boundless enthusiasm and wide-ranging field of reference truly brought the subject to life. We covered areas like the role of coaching methods in mentoring, blockers to personal and professional growth (chief culprit: interruptions!) and the degree to which we overestimate our ability to truly listen. Along the way, we touched on “the circle of control“, the GROW model (Goal, Reality, Options, Way forward), and principles drawn from Timothy Gallwey’s The Inner Game.

The session was highly interactive and finished off with a chance to mentor one of the session’s other attendees. Needless to say, I didn’t mentor Simon. (In point of fact, one of the pleasures of the morning was to be in a group of such varied backgrounds and professions; nary a geek nor a tech entrepreneur among them – most refreshing!)

We already do a fair amount of informal mentoring between us, on programmes such as Springboard, BBC Worldwide Labs and StartupYard and find it just as stimulating and enjoyable as mentors as we hope our “mentees” do. So we’re looking forward to following up this Get Mentoring training by involving ourselves in the programme as it enters the next stage – the actual mentoring.