ADVOCACY. INSPIRATION. PROGRESS.
The University runs several mentoring schemes that members of the Women’s Network can access. Summary of schemes
Look out for network events about mentoring.
What can Mentoring Achieve?
Many organisations use mentoring as a way of developing and retaining staff, and many successful people (not least women) report benefiting from the support of a mentor. Mentoring is increasingly seen as an alternative or useful addition to attendance on formal training courses. In his book ‘Everyone needs a Mentor’ (CIPD, 2004) David Clutterbuck identifies mentoring as ‘the most cost-efficient and sustainable method of fostering and developing talent within an organisation’.
A review of mentoring research literature carried out by Dr Bob Garvey and Ruth Garrett-Harris of the Mentoring and Coaching Research Unit, Sheffield Hallam University, found that, from an organisational perspective, by far the most reported benefits of running mentoring programmes were improved relationships, morale and motivation. Other significant benefits included:
- improved succession planning
- effective leadership development
- better management of culture change
- reduced staff turnover
The UKRC points out that in science, engineering and technology, where women are under-represented, they can face significant career barriers, and that mentoring can be particularly helpful in overcoming these. In particular, mentoring by women for women can provide:
- Access to meaningful role models
- Help with feelings of isolation associated with working in an environment dominated by men
- Advice on work-life balance issues from someone with direct experience of those issues, such as planning a career break
- Support and encouragement when faced with challenges associated with ‘the glass ceiling’ from someone who has faced those issues
In her book ‘Beyond the Boys Club’ Dr Suzanne Doyle Morris features interviews of women talking about their career experiences. She reports how some women regret not seeking out the support of a mentor at a time when a little career guidance would have been useful. For example, she quotes a woman academic as saying:
‘If I had had a mentor when I got my first academic post at UCL who said, "You’ve got a very respectable record of publications and your teaching reports are very good, why don't you go for promotion?" I probably would have gone for promotions earlier.'
Mentoring is widely used as a ‘positive action’ tool, i.e. a method of offering some extra support to an under-represented group to help members of this group take advantage of opportunities in the workplace. Current programmes available across the University are:
Mentoring and Coaching for Researchers - Research and Innovation Services offer a suite of mentoring programmes designed to help research staff and students along their research career.
Mentoring for Academic and Non Academic Staff - there are also a range of mentoring programmes on offer around the University, provided by Human Resources.
Find out more about the session we ran for women Post Doc and PhD students.