How important is personality when it comes to matching a mentor and a mentee? Or is a good fit between the pair’s skills and experience what makes a mentoring partnership success?
James Ealey, from NGI Solutions, was paired with his new business mentor James Beard after signing up to the North East LEP’s Growth Through Mentoring programme and being matched by Helen Lee, Mentoring Coordinator.
“Being mentored has been a really positive business and life experience,” said James Ealey, who is Business Development Director at NGI Solutions, a Newcastle-based research, marketing, PR and digital agency which is part of the region’s destination marketing agency NewcastleGateshead Initiative.
“I’m responsible for managing day-to-day operations at NGI Solutions. We’re a business which is just over three years old and we’ve had excellent, consistent growth. We’re now looking to take our development to the next level and this was an opportunity to access a mentor who had been through a similar process themselves."
“Helen made the introduction to James, my mentor, and I found that he could very quickly understand the growth situation of the company and the challenges that go along with that. He understood the structure of our business and drew parallels with his own experience. Personality is hugely important in a mentor-mentee match. I’d never done anything like this before but it was a hugely positive experience and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again and recommend it to others.”
James’s mentor was James Beard, Chief Operating Officer at tombola, Britain’s biggest online bingo site. Beard previously worked at Sage and at Sage Pay during a time of rapid growth for the company.
“Being matched with James was well aligned with my experience but a good personality match between mentor and mentee is really important as well. The Growth Through Mentoring programme puts a lot of work into carefully matching mentors with mentees based on people’s strengths and weaknesses and the areas that mentees are looking for support in. And in terms of personality, you need to be able to quickly build trust and be open with each other."
“James and I have now completed our formal mentoring process but we’ve kept in touch and James knows he can reach out to me again in the future – whether that’s in six weeks’ time, six months or six years. It’s great to feel that I’ve helped someone and it’s also about helping other businesses in the North East to prosper – it’s all for the benefit of the region as a whole."
“Being a mentor has built my own confidence and given me an insight into other industry sectors. I’d encourage other people to get involved, whether that’s as a mentor or as a mentee,” said James Beard.
The North East LEP has recruited a bank of experienced mentors who are available now to mentor leaders of North East businesses which have the potential to scale up. Find out more about Growth Through Mentoring.
If you'd like to find out more about mentoring generally, head over to our mentoring toolkit.