Mentoring is an important and powerful development tool

These valuable partnerships are designed to help the mentee progress her career by drawing on the experience and support of a more senior mentor.  Mentors do this by questioning, challenging and encouraging their mentee to look more closely at herself, her career and her life.

A mentor's goal is for the mentee to become more self-aware, to take responsibility for the direction of her career and life, and believe in herself and her ability to achieve her goals.

Become a mentor

Download our mentoring tips

Resources for Crossing Thresholds Mentors

Spot mentoring

We encourage all our participants not to see their mentor as a ‘one-stop-shop’. If someone wants advice on a certain aspect of work (e.g. work-life balance, effectively chairing meetings, authentically raising their profile, etc.) we suggest ‘spot mentoring’. This involves a one-off meeting with an expert in that area. Anyone in our mentor pool can be contacted by course participants for a spot-mentoring session, but we also encourage our participants to approach other people within their organisation to ‘pick their brains’.

Mentoring for Crossing Thresholds

Mentoring partnerships have been one of the cornerstone of Crossing Thresholds since its inception, and over the years we have seen that the women who fully engage in this aspect are the ones who gain greatest benefit.  We are privileged to have an active pool of over 1,000 mentors with a wide range of experiences.

Crossing Thresholds mentors commit one hour a month for the year.  Ideally meetings are face-to-face, but distance should not be a barrier to a successful mentoring relationship - sessions by telephone, VC and Skype can work well too.

The role of the mentor on Crossing Thresholds is to support the mentee in her learning journey throughout the year, specifically:

  • Helping her to clarify her goals and stay focused on what she wants
  • Assisting her to take strategic actions and assess the results
  • Encouraging her to step out of her comfort zone where necessary
  • Challenging any negative assumptions
  • Helping her to cope with any setbacks and develop greater resilience

A primary benefit of the course was having a mentor. From our first meeting we clicked. Through the twelve months we looked in detail at what makes me tick at work and what I want from my career. I learned so much about myself from our productive sessions.  

Charlotte Barton, Compliance Team, Home Office

Thresholds mentors share their experiences and tips

Rae Turnbull Thresholds Mentor

Rae Turnbull

Senior Project Manager
Highways England
I find that many of the same themes come up in mentoring – lack of confidence, finding suitable examples for competences when applying for jobs, relationships with others, etc. And yet each mentoring experience is very different because we are all individuals with different experiences and different ways of learning. Building a relationship with the person I am mentoring is essential to know how best to mentor them...
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Wendy Eley Thresholds Mentor

Wendy Eley

Deputy Director
High Speed Rail, Department for Transport
I have always been a strong believer in mentoring – I know I would have never have achieved what I have without the help of more experienced individuals along the way. I am also a great believer in ‘paying it forward’ so when I saw Crossing Thresholds advertised I was really keen to be part of it. Women often need that extra push to believe in themselves and build the self-confidence to go after their goals.
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Thresholds Mentor Roland Cox

Roland Cox

Manager
MOD
Following feedback I have provided on competence statements and interview techniques, all my mentees have gone on to secure promotions so far. For anyone considering mentoring, I would recommend that the benefits for personal development and the positive impact you will have, make it a thoroughly worthwhile venture.
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Thresholds Mentor Marie Knox

Marie Knox

Deputy Director
Welsh Government
It really is a pleasure to mentor Crossing Thresholds participants. They are enthusiastic, committed, energetic and talented women. And it is obvious that they find the programme both challenging and inspiring. Hearing about the issues they want to address, and doing what I can to support them, is very rewarding.  
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Dr Lucy Mason Thresholds Mentor

Dr Lucy Mason

Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism
Home Office
I have found it hard to think of myself as being senior, or grown-up enough, to presume to give people advice or opine about what they could do differently, or better. It’s been quite challenging for me to remember this isn’t about having a friendly chat (although it can be very similar) but that I am there in a distinct capacity, as someone who has a responsibility to provide thoughtful and hopefully good advice.
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which direction?

Liz Wigley

Manager, Government Property Unit
Cabinet Office
I found Crossing Thresholds a very helpful process for me and I wanted to give something back. I decided to get involved in mentoring as I think it's important to have a safe space, where you can talk openly to someone about your ambitions, your fears, whatever you want to discuss, without fear of being judged. And knowing that the person you are talking to is on your side and has no axe to grind, but will give you support and a different perspective.
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Jennifer Hutton Thresholds Mentor

Jennifer Hutton

Deputy Director
DCLG
Although I’m not a very structured person in most areas of life, I’ve learned that a mentoring relationship is most fruitful when there is some structure around it: for example an agreed schedule of meetings in both diaries and an idea in advance of each meeting about what might be discussed.
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Elizabeth Moriba Thresholds Mentor

Elizabeth Moriba

HR Manager
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
I get a sense of fulfilment in seeing the transformation of someone from who they thought they were, developing into someone quite different and unique, and being able to push their own boundaries and having the confidence to take that next step in their careers and going against perceived obstacles.
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Caroline Griffiths Thresholds Mentoring

Caroline Griffiths

Strategist
Department for Work and Pensions
For several years I’ve been involved in talent programmes, action learning sets and mentoring. The opportunity to mentor for Crossing Thresholds crossed my desk, so I thought…. Why not? This really was one of the best things I’ve done as I’m finding mentoring someone in another organisation really insightful and refreshing.
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Alice Hammond Thresholds Mentor

Alice Hammond

Group Strategy & Implementation Unit
Defra
I’ve mentored two people so far on Crossing Thresholds and I feel privileged to have been part of the personal journey they both went on in the year they spent on the course. At the end of each, I was meeting with someone who was much more self-accepting, with a more positive outlook. I think they are happier as a result and better at talking about it when they are unhappy too – which is so important.
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Ali Humberstone Thresholds Mentor

Ali Humberstone

Head of Future Policy
DWP
I have found being a mentor inspiring. I have worked with three women who have moved forward into promotion, one making the decision to move to another department. Another colleague decided that a sideways move was for her and I was able to support her by setting up some shadowing in the area she wanted to move into. 
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Ahad Rawat Thresholds Mentor

Ahad Rawat

Head of GESR Operations
HM treasury
The first few times I mentored people were a bit scary, as I was a little nervous of how to lead the discussion and what was the right thing to say. I've learned that actually it is very much a joint process, and a relationship can be flexible while at the same time be focused on some clear objectives.
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Margaret Philipson Thresholds Mentor

Margaret Philipson

Stakeholder Engagement and Visits
Department for BEIS
I went on a Crossing Thresholds HEO/SEO course and wanted to put something back into the programme. I always find it interesting to meet people from other Departments to get their perspective on the Civil Service. I hit it off with straight away with my first mentee and we found it easy to talk. The fact that I had done the Crossing Thresholds course meant we could compare experiences.
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