This is Christiana Imafidon from Greater London & The South East And Her Story of How She Keeps Going…
5 THINGS I LEARNED MENTORING WOMEN AT CHERIE BLAIR FOUNDATION 5 things I learned from Mentoring Women in Business at Cherie Blair’s Foundation for Women includes:
A fresh new start
Approach it from a fresh new perspective
The importance of patience with yourself AND the mentee. This is a key part of the relationship because you’re not physically there with them so you don’t know the challenges they face on the ground.
You don’t know whether the internet connection is stable, you don’t know if the electricity to power the device they use is available or you don’t know if the device they are using is up to scratch. Being aware of this makes it easier for you (as a mentor) to empathize if they suddenly get cut off or lose you mid-conversation. The list of technical difficulties could vary but are endless.
The next thing and lesson I learnt on the programme is to keep going, regardless of the circumstances. While the programme is 1 year this has been an almost 3-year journey. The first mentee I had wasn’t able to start because of a change in their personal circumstances. Fortunately, they got a new job, which is fantastic! The demands of her role got in the way of her prior commitment to the programme.
Subsequently, she had to discontinue the menteeship. Seeing that I was still keen to mentor, the Foundation graciously offered me the chance to mentor again, which I happily accepted.
The second time round more progress was made. The mentee while from Mozambique had schooled in the UK, which was a pleasant surprise, so was better able to relate to me. We got off to a great start and had a two and a half hour conversation, which went on deep into the night!
Again, the initial spark we had was short-lived and that would be the last conversation (on the Programme, hopefully not ever!) that we would have as a mentee-mentor relationship. Unfortunately, this time due to unforeseen circumstances, she was not able to finish.
Thus, the situation of being without a mentee arose again. While a little hurt by this experience – having invested more time and resources with this mentee – I was undeterred. I knew the value I could add to another mentee and again the Foundation, while sympathetic and apologetic, offered me the opportunity to mentor another mentee. I relished the challenge and accepted the chance to have an input in the development of a new mentee!
A Fresh New Start
This experience was slightly different to the last one as this mentee already had a business in Marketing – helpful to know when we made it that far into the relationship. While I approached the first session with trepidation, just in case experiences with previous mentees came up again, we made it to the second call! Then to the third call… and then to the fourth call and so on! Now we have completed a whole year without a glitch!
It was an exciting way to meet someone new and grow with them through the mentorship. I was realising that although this mentee was initially nervous this began to change when they spoke about themselves, their circumstances and ultimately their businesses. These were topics they knew better than anyone else and confidently spoke about.
Be Open And Open-Minded
Being able to open up and be open-minded allowed the conversation to flow far more coherently than if it had been planned to a finely minuted agenda. The mentee could be free and free to speak about things they felt were important to them so the time flew by.
Approach it from a fresh new perspective
With this it became clear what stage of business my mentee was at and how I could provide assistance in helping her view it from a different perspective. This meant highlighting the opportunities available to her by asking thought provoking questions which enabled her to see things she hadn’t seen, thought of or considered before. For example, she explained how difficult it was to reach Big companies for the services she was providing so I asked her:
‘What do you offer?’
‘What services do you offer that will be of value to them?’ I continued ‘Have you thought about speaking to people in your existing network to see if they need it? ‘Have you thought about those providing testimonials and feedback on what they’ve enjoyed about your services so far?’
This got her thinking about other ways of tackling the problem of sales and helped to guide her mind to a different approach.
Looking at the same problems from a fresh new perspective is part of what this kind of support is about. Having someone outside the business guiding the entrepreneur through business challenges with a fresh pair of eyes can be incredibly helpful when starting out.
Facebook – Christiana Imafidon (https://www.facebook.com/Christiana.imafidon.9/)
TikTok – @christianaimafidon (https://www.tiktok.com/@christianaimafidon)
Instagram – @christianaimafidon_ (https://www.instagram.com/christianaimafidon_/)
Twitter – @Tianaimafidon (https://twitter.com/TianaImafidon)
LinkedIn – Christiana Imafidon (www.linkedin.com/in/christianaimafidon)
Website: Tutorful https://tutorful.co.uk/tutors/562dpxwn and School Speakers https://www.schoolspeakers.co.uk/speaker-listings/christiana-imafidon-speaker