Get Mentoring

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Paul Etheridge has been impressed by the calibre of mentors coming through the Get Mentoring scheme. The former business planner and management consultant who now runs GoldenTime Toys found a real benefit in being able to tailor the distance learning course to his needs.

“Varied and enjoyable” are the words Paul Etheridge uses to describe his career to date. Paul now runs GoldenTime Toys – a company that markets and sells educational games and resources to help children learn through fun at home – but his route to running his own business has led him through many different roles. Since leaving University with a degree in Applied Chemistry, Paul has worked in research and development, as a product marketer, a business planner at BT and a management consultant.

Somehow Paul also managed to fit an MBA into that time as well as indulging in his passion for surfing, cycling and playing the saxophone badly (not all at the same time). The skills he has developed have helped to equip him with essential mentoring skills:

“Consulting first taught me how trust could be gained and lost in a relationship. Trust is not something you manufacture but hold precious and is highly valued in any relationship – something that is essential in the mentoring approach.”

Paul is also a man keen to give something back to the community. He cites this as the reason for taking a position within the National Trust where he developed an internal consultancy: “I helped to shape and define a change programme, which exposed me to some brilliant people who helped shift the culture and working practices of the conservation advisers.”

Through GoldenTime Toys, which Paul runs with his wife, this need to ‘give back’ is evident again:

“Our games improve skills in the core subjects of maths and literacy, whilst also developing critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills. Many of our games also help children with dyslexia and dyscalculia and we also stock games that promote collaborative working and strategic thinking. Schools acknowledge that children learn best when they are having fun, and making learning fun is at the heart of our business.”

Asked what inspired him to begin mentoring, Paul says,

“It’s difficult to pick out one thing that inspired me, but I was fortunate to have people throughout my career who gave their time to help me and I hope I can now do this for others. Fundamentally it’s a desire to help others and see them grow.”

As with many experienced businessmen and women, Paul already has a broad range of skills making him suitable to mentoring, but he says that the Get Mentoring training was certainly of value:

“It re-engaged me and made me reflect on the skills I had formally learnt, those I had developed through experience, and how they could be applied to help improve the mentoring experience. I thought the Preparation in Readiness for Mentoring was the best thing. In particular, the activities within each module, the checklists for marketing and the toxic mentor/mentee and the case study.”

And Paul was able to tailor the learning to suit his own preferences. He says,

“I have to admit that I prefer manuals/books when it comes to learning. I like to write my own notes and draw on the paper to make links or references. So when the manual arrived by post I was keen to get started. It took me about a week to read through and reflect on elements of the programme. The online test was then quite straight forward.”

Paul goes on to say,
“I’m encouraged by the scheme’s aims and looking forward to getting involved. The thought of being on the mentorsme database is scary yet exciting. I have read some of the profiles and have been impressed by the calibre of people out there. I hope people will benefit from being part of this networked community through mutual support.”

And Paul’s ideal mentee? “I’m open to mentoring anyone from any industry, but given the choice I would like to mentor someone involved in designing toys and games, or perhaps smartphone applications.”

Posted on by getadmin | Posted in Case Studies, Get Mentoring Monthly