Guy Sellers, CEO, Total Media Group

Mentee and Mentor

I thoroughly approve of mentoring and the access to and passing on of experience it involves. This is quite different to coaching where the process encourages the coachee to learn how to find the answers for themselves. Mentoring is much more of a speed-dial to short-cuts, actionable advice, quick fixes and opinion. It does require mentors to have sufficient experience to draw on, ideally in your field, to give both general and specific advice.

I enjoyed the benefit of having mentors, particularly at the start of my career, and these were generally informal and included an uncle, a serious C-suiter, who was fascinated by the emergence of Total Media. Nothing is as reassuring as a mentor saying they’ve seen your situation before and suggests practical and actionable solutions. So, for leaders of new agencies or simply those entering new roles, mentors can provide a very reassuring backchannel for one-to-one advice. Generally, mentoring is voluntary and doesn’t always involve money.

Mentoring links between business and under-represented groups

There are a growing number of mentoring strands, driven by the need for access to experience.  The increasing awareness of the need for diversity has created mentoring links between business and under-represented groups. Earlier this year we partnered with WYK Digital, a social enterprise focused on youth development in digital. We partnered several WYK students with senior mentors at Total Media and hosted a careers day at the end of their programme. The delightful outcome was that we were able to offer three permanent entry positions to WYK graduates and we’ll certainly be doing this again.

We are also involved with Bloom, the women’s network in our industry that conducts external mentoring for females in business and this has been widely subscribed to.

Development outside of the daily line-management hierarchy

There is our internal programme which encourages development outside of the daily line-management hierarchy. This gives mentees access to experience and talent elsewhere in the business and mentors contact with ideas and perspectives they may not otherwise engage with. Outside of these structured mentoring arrangements I am sure there are many informal relationships providing sounding boards and advice.

So, while being a small to medium-sized agency, we have found several strands of mentoring to bring ideas into the business and share our experience. As I mentioned earlier, I thoroughly approve of mentoring; it’s terrific being the beneficiary of great mentoring and it's great fun, not without challenges, being a mentor.

Last updated 07 December 2023