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

'Mentoring has made a massive difference.'


Our mentoring scheme matches up CIH members with experienced members to help them to share knowledge and develop their career. We spoke to a mentor and a person being mentored to find out what they've gained from the scheme.

Mentor: Tony Stacey, chief executive of South Yorkshire Housing Association

Mentored: James Sanderson, resident sustainment project manager at Hackney Council and 2017 Rising Stars winner

Started partnership: September 2017

How did you first hear about the mentoring scheme?

James: I first heard about the mentoring scheme when I was applying for Rising Stars 2017. The opportunity to get with a mentor in the sector was a big incentive behind why I decided to enter the competition.

Tony: When that bloomin’ Alison Inman rang me! She explained Jamie had said he wanted me to be his mentor, and explained how the scheme works. All credit to the CiH for pushing this hard. It is a good framework which helps mentor and mentee.

Why did you want to be involved?

James: Aside from my involvement with Rising Stars I guess that there were three main reasons that I was drawn to the mentoring programme and to wanting to work with Tony specifically.

Firstly, my career so far has been spent in London and the South East and I was keen to open my eyes to the world beyond the M25. The South East has it's own set of specific pressures in relation to social and affordable housing but I wanted to learn more about the different challenges faced by providers up and down the country.

Secondly, whilst I started off working for a housing association I now work in local government. It's strange that across providers our day to day work is pretty similar but it can sometimes feel like we're operating on totally different planets and I wanted to see what, if any, experiences I could share.

Finally, Tony has been someone that I have looked up to for a while now and I admire his ability to balance being a steadfast and outspoken campaigner for social housing with his role as a CEO. I'm also a Sheffield lad and the opportunity to learn about the fantastic work going on at South Yorkshire Housing Association was one that I couldn't pass up on.

Tony: I love working with younger people. I learn loads from them and I enjoy reflecting on my own approach to leadership; it is a great help in terms of clarifying my own thoughts. I remember very clearly and with great appreciation the people who helped me get started on my leadership journey as a younger man. The CIH mentoring scheme is a great way of giving something back and learning along the way.

What are the main things that you have got out of being mentored?

James: Fresh perspectives, coaching and opportunities through which I've been able to really broaden my horizons.

Day to day I think that the scheme has helped me to start developing as a leader not just for my own benefit but for the benefit of those who I work with as well. Specifically, it has helped me to provoke discussions around what good leadership means in practice, the future of how we work and to not be afraid challenge established thinking. Reflecting on the experience so far it feels like it's acted as the starting point of a broader journey in terms of my personal and professional development.

Tony: The great thing is the learning is very much two-way. I’ve been able to help Jamie and he’s been able to help me too. It has been really good to get to know him. Our values are very similar, but our solutions to the wicked issues we all face have sometimes varied. That’s the point where the real learning starts.

What would you say to anyone considering getting involved with the scheme?

James: To all those fantastic senior leaders out there: don't be shy, get involved! To anyone interested in being mentored: put yourself forward, have an open mind, make the most of the learning and enjoy it!

Tony: It’s a privilege to be involved - don’t think twice.

  • Want to find out more about our mentoring scheme? Click here

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