Being a great mentor is about developing the capability and potential in a person rather than fixating on an individual’s performance and skills.

We all go through a ‘behavioural’ journey throughout our careers and this becomes more refined as we gain confidence and experience. But how do we use that insight and experience to benefit others?

  1. Understand that mentoring isn’t the same as coaching. The fundamental objective of mentoring is to support personal development and grow confidence levels and ability. The ultimate goal is to enable an individual to perform at a higher level.
  2. Be generous and open. Great mentoring is about drawing on your knowledge and experience to guide, advise and motivate others, whether an employee or a colleague.
  3. Try to keep it informal and intuitive and adapt it to suit the specific relationship and personality. As a mentor, you can extend advice and support beyond work, particularly in relation to issues regarding work/life balance. Happy staff will lead to higher job satisfaction, improved retention and loyalty to you and your organisation.
  4. Always opt for a one-to-one, face-to-face discussion so that subtleties of body language can be picked up. Eye contact and a willingness to pick up on what is not being said is vital.
  5. Let your mentee set the agenda and understand that it may be negotiable as the discussion develops. It is helpful to recap in writing afterwards to maintain focus and enable you and your mentee to review progress later.
  6. Realise that a fluid mentoring experience can open up new opportunities and different ways of seeing. This can lead to a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship. If the mentee is someone who reports to you directly, play down the reporting relationship to encourage openness and trust.
  7. As a mentor, your time with the mentee will give you enhanced insight into their potential and attitude. Consequently, keep succession-building opportunities in mind when mentoring to create a route for progression within your organisation.

David Vaughton is Managing Director of Make Venues, a group of three multi-award winning venues including Woodland Grange in Leamington Spa, Broadway House in Westminster and Engineers’ House in Bristol.

David is a modern business leader, passionate about recognising and developing young talent and giving them a grounding and pathway in the industry. Equally, in his time at Make Venues, David has ‘re-made’ the business on a number of occasions as part of its continual ambition for consistent and high-level growth. These re-inventions have involved the implementation of change management programmes with staff, as they adapt to new structures and objectives within the business.

This agility in business has been achieved on the back of over 30 years of senior management experience in Hotels, Conference Centres and Stadia. The last 15 years has seen him establish the Make Venues group as one of the most respected and high performing meetings and events brands in the venues sector.

The group’s reputation has been built on a solid base of customer service excellence which has seen the group win the ‘best small group’ and ‘best value group’ accolades in the BVA BDRC Venue Verdict scheme for the last seven years. In fact, service excellence has been one of the key passion projects for David; throughout his career, constantly looking to understand how to turn good service into great and providing coaching and mentoring to staff at every level of the business. As part of this, David has been heavily involved with Venues of Excellence over the last 15 years having served as a board director, vice-chair and Chairman.

David is also passionate about food and wellbeing, both through his roots as a chef in his early career, and also as a committed and regular runner. Within Make Venues he oversaw the creation of wellbeing ‘champions’ in each of the venues and remains committed to making small but positive impacts on the guests across the venue group, by offering them sustainable, locally sourced and tasty food. This is a hallmark of what makes Make Venues the business it is.