Coaching, Mentoring & Sponsorship

Coaching, Mentoring & Sponsorship opportunities in the East of England

Coaching and mentoring are development approaches based on the use of one-to-one conversations to enhance an individual’s skills, knowledge or work performance.

It’s possible to draw distinctions between coaching and mentoring although in practice the two terms are often used interchangeably.

Sponsorship is similar to coaching and mentoring but has more of a focus on career development with the sponsor being someone in a senior position who is able to help open doors and make introductions.  The One NHS Finance Sponsorship programme has been established to support individuals from under-represented groups. Click here for more information on the sponsorship programme.

The East of England Finance Academy is keen to support individuals in accessing mentoring and coaching support, as well as encouraging relevant individuals to take part in the Sponsorship programme.  Information on the difference between mentoring and coaching, and how to apply for a coach or mentor is given below.

What is Mentoring ?

Mentoring in the workplace describes a relationship in which a more experienced colleague shares their greater knowledge to support the development of an inexperienced individual. It calls on the skills of questioning, listening, clarifying and reframing that are associated with coaching.

One key distinction is that mentoring relationships tend to be longer term than coaching arrangements. In a succession planning scenario, a regional finance director might be mentored by a group level counterpart over a lengthy period to develop a sound approach to dealing with the board, presenting to analysts and challenging budgets.

Mentoring relationships work best when they move beyond the directive approach of a senior colleague ‘telling it how it is’. An effective mentoring relationship is where there are learning opportunities for both participants, encouraging joint sharing and learning.

The Mentoring Programme is delivered in partnership by HFMA and One NHS Finance and is free of charge to all individual HFMA members or staff working for organisations with level 1 accreditation.

What is Coaching?

Coaching aims to produce optimal performance and improvement at work. It focuses on specific skills and goals, and may also have an impact on an individual’s personal attributes such as social interaction or confidence. The process typically lasts for a defined period of time or forms the basis of an on-going management style.

Although there’s a lack of agreement among coaching professionals about precise definitions, there are some generally agreed characteristics of coaching in organisations:

  • It’s essentially a non-directive form of development focusing on improving performance and developing an individual.
  • Personal factors may be included but the emphasis is on performance at work.
  • Coaching activities have both organisational and individual goals, for individuals to assess their strengths and development areas.
  • It’s a skilled activity, which should be delivered by line managers and others trained in coaching skills.

The Finance Academy is providing funding for coaching support via HFMA during 2023/24.  The allocated funding will cover the costs for approx. 4 individuals from each of our 6 systems.   Please register your interest if you would like to apply for a free place.

To register your interest in coaching or to be linked with a mentor please send an email to coaching@hfma.org.uk expressing your interest and providing the following information:

  • Name
  • Job title
  • Organisation and ICS
  • A short paragraph on why you’re applying and what you hope to achieve through the coaching or mentoring

What Skills make a good Mentor?

The role of Mentor is a voluntary role suitable to those more experienced who are happy to share their knowledge of healthcare finance.

The mentor will have the skills and experience to mentor and a genuine interest in helping someone achieve their personal development objectives. They will share their experience to provide validation of how they can help the mentee to increase their skills, knowledge, confidence and motivation.  In addition, they will provide different perspectives on problem solving, career options and opportunities and be a role model and provide connection with other role models if appropriate to do so.

The mentor must be willing to attend the training provided through the programme and undertake any refresher training offered in the future.

Mentoring skills:

•Excellent communication skills to include active listening and personal presentation skills
•Effective time management
•Relationship building and networking
•Personal development
•Risk management – personal and business related
•People development
•Excellent interpersonal skill to include Influencing and negotiating

Mentor knowledge and understanding:

•The difference between the role of a mentor and the role of other business support professionals, e.g. coach, adviser or consultant
•Rules on confidentiality and data protection and how to follow them
•The mentoring process to include mentoring agreement with the client
•The mentoring relationship and the importance of using the most effective communication methods to create a productive mentoring environment

Mentoring personal behaviours

Mentors should have the ability to:
•Respect the mentee’s need for information, commitment and confidentiality
•Listen and respond effectively and check understanding
•Adapt their personal style to empathise with a whole range of mentees
•Build and maintain rapport over sustained periods of time
•Invite a two-way exchange of information and feedback with mentees and others
•Take a flexible approach to work
•Be emotionally resilient and be able to work in a challenging environment

How can I become a Mentor?

If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a mentor or would like to join the register please contact tracy.smith@hfma.org.uk