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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

‘I can’t recommend getting a mentor highly enough’


Did you know that CIH members can take advantage of free mentoring? Brett Sadler, assistant director for communities at North Wales Housing, says getting advice from someone who gets to know you well but doesn’t work with you can be invaluable.

So just what is this ‘mentoring’ about and why does CIH have it as part of its member benefits package?

Well firstly, I must confess that I do have a bit of previous with mentoring.

I have been lucky enough to have a mentor before. I was a finalist in the first ever CIH Cymru Rising Stars competition and one of the prizes was to pick a mentor of my own.

I ended up being with my mentor for five years and found the relationship immensely beneficial. OK, yes, I had probably held on to the mentoring relationship too long (isn't hindsight a wonderful thing?), but I ultimately made the decision to end it in 2017. So what then?

I hadn't really thought about getting another mentor, certainly not in the short term anyway. But over Christmas I spent some time looking around the CIH website and found that as part of my CIH membership I could request a mentor. I hadn't even realised it was one of the CIH benefits!

The process was really easy: log on to MyCIH with your member account, click on CiZone, then select 'scenarios’. From the list of potential mentors I picked three, submitted my application online and got a confirmation email back from CIH. A few days after this I had an email confirming that Andrei Szatkowski had kindly agreed to be my new mentor. It was one of the easiest things ever!

For our first mentoring meet-up, we arranged to meet at Piccadilly train station a few weeks later for a chat. On the train down there were a number of Twitter conversations about the CIH mentoring scheme and Lisa Pickard, chief executive of Leeds & Yorkshire Housing Association, suggested I should blog about my experience of the CIH mentoring service – so here I am!

The first mentoring session is a chance to meet and see if the ongoing relationship will work. In the case of Andrei and I, we have agreed to meet again, so it must have gone well!

I can't recommend getting a mentor highly enough. The ability to talk to a fellow housing professional who gets to know you well but doesn't work with you is invaluable. Having a mentor, I have been able to get some fantastic career advice and some much-needed sense checking on things that have cropped up where I've needed a second opinion.

During that Twitter conversation with Lisa I also agreed in the next few months to sign up to become a mentor myself through CIH. I have done some unofficial mentoring previously (as well as being a qualified mentor and coach) and have also had the experience of being mentored myself, so I am really looking forward to the chance to pass on some of my career experience and advice to someone else.

My final request is simple - if you aren't already involved in the CIH mentoring scheme, I would strongly suggest you take a look!

Follow Brett on Twitter: @brettsadler77

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