The Local Government Group recently hosted a half-day seminar organised by City University’s Prof. Jo Silvester, to launch the Political Mentoring Toolkit and raise awareness of mentoring and coaching for politicians in local and national government.
The event saw perspectives offered from politicians who are being mentored and those taking up peer mentor roles, as well as hearing from leading researchers and practitioners developing work in this field.
Speaking about the dynamics of working as a peer mentor, and the support that may be needed for mentors and coaches, Karen Izod drew on her experiences of directing the ‘Coaching Skills for Political Leaders’ programme which she led on behalf of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR) for the LGG from 2007-2011.
Karen suggested that taking up the role of a political mentor/coach, can be seen as a personal, professional and political activity. The work challenges at each of these levels, evoking thoughts, feelings and behaviours which are likely to have some meaning in the peer relationship. The understanding for how politics plays out in individuals, groups and broader systems of government is a key resource in the mentoring/coaching relationship. Reflective conversations between colleagues and in supervision, can often bring out new meanings, supporting the complexity of the work for the political leader and their mentor/coach.
Panel members agreed that mentoring and coaching are systemically based activities which involve holding in mind the interplay between communities, officers, elected representatives and political parties.
The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations offer a number of professional development programmes that address the type of complex dynamics that Karen spoke about during the seminar, such as the ‘Practitioner Certificate in Consulting and Change’(P3C) and the ‘Coaching for Leadership and Professional Development‘ programme.
We also offer Executive Coaching, which you can find out more about here.