Both sides of the story: the mentor-mentee partnership

One of the first business owners to be matched with a mentor through the North East LEP’s Growth through Mentoring programme is Lucy Batley, Co-Founder and Creative Director of full service creative agency JUMP. Lucy was partnered with mentor Alan English who has extensive experience of working with scale-up businesses internationally.

We caught up with Lucy and Alan to find out what the experience was like for each of them.

The mentor: Alan English

My background is all about working with startups and scale-ups and I’ve worked with companies in Singapore, Hong Kong, Silicon Valley and Colorado.

Now I’ve returned to the North East I wanted to help people in my home region. I’m based here now and found it easy to fit in an hour or two here and there to volunteer as a mentor.

Working with Lucy was an absolute pleasure. We got on like a house on fire and got right down to identifying the challenges and opportunities of running a business.

We met three times in total: one introductory meeting and then three mentoring sessions which lasted between two and two and a half hours each time. That doesn’t sound like a lot of time but two hours is plenty – you can be quite fast paced and have quick results. We covered a massive amount each time we met and we also made sure that we identified the topics we wanted to cover in future sessions.

As a mentor, I asked a lot of questions about the challenges Lucy faced in different areas. I drew on my past experience not just of what’s worked for me but also what hasn’t – the good, the bad and the ugly!

I volunteer for a range of mentoring programmes as I enjoy it and get a lot out of it. It’s satisfying to be able to share what I’ve learned through my career – one of the upsides of getting older!

The mentee: Lucy Batley

 The mentoring process was definitely the right thing for me. It was very bespoke and entirely useful.

I think it worked because of the calibre and expertise of my mentor and the speed of getting to the heart of the problem. I’d originally identified some challenges I wanted to discuss, based around new business and sales, and we identified and honed in on specific areas very quickly.

Alan has mastered the art – and it is an artform – of listening, honing in on the important issues, interjecting at the appropriate time, asking the right questions and using his experience to offer intelligent and thoughtful insights.

In terms of business impact, we’ve already seen a notable change within the senior management team – we’re now looking for value within every client opportunity.

The mentoring process provided me with the assurance that a lot of what we are doing is right and the experience has given me the confidence to change the things that aren’t working so well.

I’d encourage other business owners who want to grow their organisation to find out more about the Growth through Mentoring programme; it’s a great way of developing the knowledge you need to scale up.

If you would like to get more involved in the Growth through Mentoring programme, please email [email protected]