03 Mar 2023

Becoming your best self with mentoring

Your current role is performance analyst at Aspire Housing in the Midlands. Can you give us an overview of what your role involves?

I am responsible for coordinating the performance reporting framework for Aspire as well as producing key performance reports and analysis on trends. I have been involved in setting up and analysing a variety of customer surveys and feedback methods, so I am also supporting the implementation of the forthcoming Tenant Satisfaction Measures, ensuring that we are ready to report on all 22 measures from April 2023.

As a CIH member you were able to register for a mentor as part of your membership services. Can you tell us a bit more about why you registered for a CIH mentor, what was your main objective and what did you hope to achieve?

I registered for a mentor not long after joining the CIH, which coincided with the re-launch of the programme. It sounded interesting, was included in my membership and, as I’ve not had a mentor before I thought I’d give it a go.

My main objective was to connect with someone else in the sector, but outside of my organisation who would have a range of experience. I wanted to talk about my own challenges in the role and about my career with someone who could give me a different perspective, who wasn’t connected to work but understood the context. I’m not interested in progressing ‘up’ the career ladder, but I do want to be the best I can be at my job for the benefit of Aspire customers and colleagues. This opportunity fit nicely alongside the support I get from my line manager adding a new, dynamic element to my professional development.

Could you share a bit more about the process involved and how long your mentoring relationship lasted Lisa? CIH members are able to use the new PushFar platform for their mentoring relationship could you give us an idea of how this works and the

It was easy to set up through the PushFar platform, being simply a case of setting up a profile, and then browsing for possible mentors who you can approach (if they are available) to request an initial meeting. The platform suggests possible matches, but you can also search for a mentor from all that are registered.

I met my first mentor a few times before they moved position and we paused the arrangement indefinitely whilst they settled in their new role. In the meantime, I was actually approached by another mentor who must have seen my profile and thought they were suited to give me some support!

Once you find a potential mentor, you message them to set up an initial meeting through PushFar, using the platform for the video call. You use PushFar for all future meetings too and can log notes. This means all your mentoring interactions are logged in one place. After your initial meeting you agree a timeframe for the relationship and set goals that you can refer to throughout the relationship to keep you on track, though these can be edited at any time. It’s helpful to have these as it keeps you focused, but also feels good when you can say that the goals have been achieved. My second mentoring relationship lasted eight months, we set it up initially for six months but extended it slightly to cover annual leave etc.

Why do you feel that having a mentor is a really positive activity to support you in your professional career journey?

The experience met all my objectives about getting ‘other’ professional advice, but also provided helpful challenge. I left every session re-energised and with new ideas and I still have post-it notes with key phrases they shared with me on my desk!  I was encouraged to look at things slightly differently and given a real confidence boost in my abilities and potential to develop in my role. It was also good to talk ‘shop’ with someone from another association and simply share opinions on what’s been going on in the sector.

What would you say to any other CIH member who was considering registering for a mentor and any top tips you’d share to help a fellow member get the most from the mentoring relationship?

I would say try it! It’s included in your membership so you’ve nothing to lose – just register on PushFar and see who you could meet. There’s also plenty of resources on there that explain what makes a good mentor and mentee that’s useful to read.  

The mentoring relationship is two-way, so you both need to feel like it fits – if it doesn’t you can be honest and simply end the arrangement and look for another. Also, the PushFar functionality around goal setting and monitoring progress is easy to use and helps you keep on track so you can see the benefit. 

If you're a CIH member and looking to unlock your potential with mentoring, head to our mentoring page to find out more. You can also discover how to become a mentor too!