England & Wales

Being an effective Councillor Supporting other Councillors: Being a Mentor


Delivering the role of a Councillor requires high levels of knowledge, skill and approach.  On being elected or on becoming a Cabinet member an individual is likely to bring to the role a great degree of expertise. However, it is also likely to be the case that some skill gaps need to be quickly developed in order to be effective beyond doubt.  With this in mind, mentoring provides a proven real life cost effective learning experience which can be used to support and accelerate the development of fellow Councillors.

Mentoring refers to a process whereby a more experienced person assists someone and is willing to share his/her knowledge with someone of less experience in a relationship of mutual trust.  However, in achieving success it has been cited that it is important that both Mentors and Mentees receive relevant training.

In addition to its numerous benefits, mentoring serves many uses:

  • To support development particularly during times of change, where it can be implemented to help maintain morale and motivation and create a sense that people are valued.
  • To enable individuals to take greater responsibility for personal and professional development where they are looking to enhance performance and increase their effectiveness.
  • To enable those new into a role to extend existing skills and develop new skills

Mentoring is a practice that has been taking place for millennia and in giving help to each other some Elected Members may have developed informal mentoring relationships which have been of benefit to the Mentee, the authority and the wider community. On the other hand, carried out incorrectly mentoring can have negative consequences.  Mentors need a range of qualities, knowledge and skills including flexibility, the ability to provide support an understanding of adult development and possession of essential listening skills. This short course is intended to heighten understanding and work towards developing such attributes by using a range of appropriate learning methods. There will also be an opportunity to discuss some of the associated skills of Coaching and to share and build upon existing experience.


9.30    Registration. Refreshments upon arrival

10.00  Introduction


  •          What is mentoring?
  •             The benefits of mentoring
  •             The role of the Mentor & the responsibilities of the Mentee
  •             The qualities, knowledge and skills required of a Mentor
  •             Recognising possible problems
  •             Activities involved in the mentoring arrangement
  •          Common concerns of a Councillor (the Mentee)

11.30  Morning Break (20 minutes)

11.50  How Adults Learn

  •             Learning Cycle
  •             Learning Styles & Learning Models

13.00  Lunch  (45 minutes)

13.45  Mentoring Skills & Techniques

  •             Questioning & Listening
  •             Techniques to guide mentee performance
  •             Giving and receiving constructive and positive feedback

15.30  Close

*This programme is correct at time of publication, but programme content may be altered without notice to reflect speaker changes which are beyond our control.


Session facilitated by

Jacqueline Mansell MA, BSc(Hons) FiFL and Chartered FCIPD is a professional personal development management, training management and equalities facilitator and trainer with over 20 years of experience in these disciplines. In addition Jacqueline provides counselling, coaching and team development. She has a strong track record working with elected members where for many years her position involved setting strategy and designing member development programmes for 46 councils.

Supported by:

Alan Waters, Is Learning and Development Manager at the LGIU and  has extensive experience delivering a wide range of training programmes for elected members. He is also a senior member of Norwich City Council and is currently deputy leader of the Council.

Who should attend?

This seminar will be of value to all elected members who are in a position to impart wisdom and experience to others. The seminar will include material suitable for the Mentor and Mentees.

The seminar may be particularly useful to Councillors involved in the attainment of regional Councillor Development Charters and those Councillors who are designated as Ambassadors for Learning.