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The FTSE 100® Cross-Company Mentoring Executive Programme

Since being established in 2003, 201 mentoring pairs have participated in the Executive Programme.  Its aims are to:

draw the career challenges of senior women executives to the attention of Chairmen and Chief Executives of top companies and organisations in the UK
 
develop and manage a mentoring programme for senior women executives
 
help the women Mentees, through the advice and guidance provided by their Mentors, and by learning and development events organised as part of the Programme, to manage their own careers so that they can attain a Board position or otherwise progress their careers
 
facilitate the introduction of Mentees to leading business decision-makers.
 

 
At the heart of the Programme is the matching of a Mentee to a Mentor who is the Chairman or other leader of another major company (hence ‘Cross-Company’). This confidential mentoring relationship with a senior business leader from another company allows Mentees to discuss their particular career challenges, and learn how best to develop and fulfil their potential.

Participating companies are invited to nominate both Mentors and Mentees simultaneously.

The Mentor is usually the company’s Chairman or Chief Executive (or someone holding nearly equivalent office).

Whilst other programmes aimed at women in business certainly exist, the FTSE 100® Cross-Company Mentoring Executive Programme is unique, because it is an example of companies assisting each other to achieve wider business goals on a not-for-profit basis. As such it can offer participating companies a very high value service at reasonable cost.

 
The Mentoring Process

The Mentoring Foundation matches each Mentee with a Mentor from a different organisation – a FTSE 100 or 250 company, or a public sector body.

Sometimes a Chairman will ask that his company’s Mentee be paired with a particular Mentor because their specific experience is especially relevant to his Mentee’s learning needs.  We make every effort to help, although we cannot guarantee that a Mentee will be matched to a particular Mentor.  Similarly, in arranging mentoring pairs we are careful to avoid any conflicts of interest, but ask that the Chairman advise us if there are certain companies that he or she does not wish their Mentee to be matched with.

The number of meetings arranged, and the precise duration of meetings, is agreed by each Mentor and Mentee. As a guide, the mentoring pair meets at least every three months, and each conversation lasts approximately an hour and a half.  Any effective mentoring relationship is, at its heart, of course, just that – a relationship – and our experience is that as the relationship develops between them the mentoring pair find their own, appropriate level of contact. The FTSE 100® Cross-Company Mentoring Executive Programme is not a prescriptive “course”; it does not have a curriculum and a timetable. Its success lies in the sensitivity and insight brought to the initial matching process; the insight, awareness and skill of the Mentor, and the willingness to learn from a senior business leader that is brought by the Mentee.

 
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