Mentoring in IPS

We recently spoke with Rebecca from Merseycare IPS Service, to chat about her mentoring journey so far. We explored her career growth and skill development, job satisfaction and the value of regular contact with new staff members during this time.

Rebecca has been an IPS Employment Specialist for three years working within the CMHT in Liverpool. She is part of an IPS team of 13 spread across three boroughs in Merseyside. Reflecting back, Rebecca notes that she was always eager to share her skills and offer ways of working that encourages other team members.

“It felt like a natural decision to mentor new members of staff.”

Rebecca’s Team Leader was aware that she would like additional responsibilities, and hopefully, progression into a senior role.

“Mentoring new members of the team felt like an organic transition”

Despite the lack of a formal mentoring structure, Rebecca has found her mentoring responsibilities a highlight over the past few months and notes that the mentors are thriving and bringing change within their local teams.

Rebecca has guided and supported many new members of the IPS team through assisting in MDT meetings, online learning, ongoing support etc. This mentoring relationship has given her the opportunity to get to know new staff members much better which has been evermore important this year given the lack of face to face contact.

Rebecca notes the importance of listening and checking in with mentees to give them support. Her mentoring routine consists of communicating with new staff regularly through telephone calls or online (via MS Teams) and providing them with advice concerning the best practices to use with new clients as well as meeting with CMHT members. Rebecca’s mentees have particularly found her support and advice in preparation for meeting with CMHT particularly valuable.

“Meeting a new CMHT for the first time can be overwhelming, and it can be tricky establishing yourself as a new member of staff, particularly whilst working remotely”

Rebecca has guided new team members and provided them with the various documents they require to excel within the role. She has also sent them the documents that they will need in their first few months of IPS.

“I love meeting new people and sharing my skills. Additionally, new members of staff have a wealth of experience outside IPS and this can be a valuable tool for us to harness.”

For Rebecca, serving as a mentor is another way of supporting other members of the IPS team and developing her own skillset including leadership and communication skills as well as learning from her peers too, however mentoring has given her a personal sense of satisfaction.

“I love building confidence for new team members”.

Through introducing a mentor within the team, this has given new team members another point of contact, in addition to the Team Leader and higher management which is so valuable for new staff members, particularly those who are joining the team during lockdown.

In addition to the added value mentoring holds for the mentee, the mentor also gains skills and experiences – Rebecca contends that mentoring others has also helped her gain confidence in a senior role. She also notes that “It is always good practice to re-visit the basics of my role”.

This season has arguably been difficult for many people, with many companies being closed, and lockdown restrictions being imposed. An unprecedented number of people have faced redundancy, meaning this past year has been the most challenging yet. In addition, the lack of face to face contact with colleagues, client and employers has been missed. However, technology has meant that Rebecca can support her mentees and learn alongside them stating “this can be both daunting and enjoyable in equal measures!”

Rebecca commented that there’s currently no formal mentoring structure or program in place, given the skills she’s developed and learnt as well as the support received by mentee, she’s confident that future Employment Specialists in the team will be offered the same opportunity to mentor others.

If you’d like to share your mentoring or mentee experiences with the IPS community, please get in touch. Contact Gloria Nalumansi for more details: Gloria.nalumansi@socialfinance.org.uk

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