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Mark Wells on mentoring

Posted on Jan 18

1 min read

Career Events & News

We are excited to relaunch our alumni mentoring programme this year. All alumni are invited to make use of the mentoring functionality on Johnian Hub, designed to help match up alumni mentors and mentees. To find out more about how to do this, please see our handy guide.

We asked Johnian Society Past President Mark Wells (1981) to tell us about his experience of mentoring.

Can you tell us about the different kinds of mentoring you’ve been involved in?

Business turnaround – when a CEO is appointed. Following a takeover or shareholder intervention the challenges and pressures can be overwhelming. Having an independent mentor with relevant experience of similar situations who can act as a confidential sounding board is invaluable. It’s a role I have performed a number of times, and in each case I’ve been appointed with the approval of the shareholders to ensure the CEO’s success.

Graduate career change – it is not uncommon for successful graduates from Russell Group universities to find themselves in jobs where they are profoundly unhappy. This can affect their confidence and self-esteem, making it difficult to see a way out of their situation. A mentor can provide a confidential sounding board away from family, friends and peers to help them understand how they got there and what they can do to get their lives back on track.

What motivated you to mentor others?

It wasn’t so much a decision as a response to requests from major shareholders (in the case of company turnarounds) or concerned parents. As is often the case, word spread leading to approaches from others in similar situations.

What do you feel you have gained from being a mentor?

It’s always good to help others. Clearly when it comes to business turnarounds the commitment of time can be substantial, so I charge an hourly fee to ensure the mentee makes good use of our time together. With career changes the benefits of mentoring are realised much quicker. Seeing the mentee recover their confidence and sense of purpose to get their lives back on track is reward enough.

What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about signing up to be a mentor or mentee?

A good mentor doesn’t have all the answers, but they do ask the right questions – and are great listeners. There is no magic formula because each mentee is different. But over time you’ll learn that having two ears and one mouth is a pretty good principle for a mentor.

Sign up to be a mentor or search for someone to mentor you on Johnian Hub.