Learning to see things differently is always important to enable us to broaden our horizons. It is not only how we develop ourselves, it is also a key leadership skill – valuable in any environment. 

Mandy St John Davey

Mandy St John Davey

Mentoring can play a part in leadership to help enable others to progress in their lives and careers, which in turn is a key attribute in our own careers.

Mentoring is an important benefit within industry and yet Women in Property has seen no real evidence of comprehensive mentoring programmes being run in the big property companies – what a missed opportunity.

There are sessions that focus on obtaining professional qualifications, but this is not the same as career-based mentoring, where intuitive understanding and guidance are shared. While it does not, and never will, replace training and development programmes, mentoring is an asset to any company toolbox.

For example, it is often difficult in a formal training environment to explain or demonstrate to mentees what it takes to be considered for a senior role. A well-run mentoring scheme can have a significant impact on both recruitment and retention.

In some cases, the loss of young graduates in their first year can be dramatically cut simply by having someone outside their authority structure with the interest and breadth of perspective to help them make wise and confident choices.

Other benefits include more effective succession planning, helping employers cope with the stress of major changes, and, of course, increased productivity.

We have been running a well-respected cross-discipline mentoring programme for more than 10 years. We welcome new mentors, but what does the role involve? Mentors are important at every level – not only the most senior – and mentors will also learn from the experience of mentoring.

Mentors seek the intellectual challenge and opportunity to take reflective space in a hectic schedule; they relish hearing the views of more junior colleagues, gaining a broader perspective and discovering new talent. This is a win-win for both mentor and mentee. Do not forget to leave your ladder down.

Mandy St John Davey is national mentoring champion at Women in Property