I was very lucky to have both an excellent mentor and excellent line manager during Chartership. The mentoring of course was a formal arrangement and was a necessary part of the Chartership process. Chris Bradford, one of our subject specialists, was my coach/ guide/ motivator throughout, and provided support with everything, from understanding the paperwork and tracking down appropriate courses to advising me on tricky situations and sharing experiences from her own career. At the same time Helen Ireland, my line manager, was working to coach me through my actual job and the learning curve, both practical and political, that I found myself on with that.
As an extraordinary route candidate I had to complete 2 years of PPD rather than the usual 1, so Chris and I had twice the time to talk, exchange ideas and drink coffee. This didn't mean that the final portfolio collation wasn't a rushed paper-strewn stress-fest with last minute page re-numbering and a complete re-write of the contents page 3 hours after we both should have gone home - but even that experience was one of fun, learning and sharing.
And I stayed in the same job during that time, so also had Helen there to encourage, direct and focus me on the day to day things, as well as support my medium - term development aspirations by finding me opportunities to to do things I found challenging, but in a supportive environment.
In my current role I still work with both Chris and Helen on a range of things and now that I am managing a team myself they have both been a great source of inspiration and support for me while I support my team and develop them.
If I am being successful in "paying it forward" at least as a manager, if not as a mentor, then my team have Chris and Helen as key people to thank for my attempts to support them and give them good opportunities. And if I am not so good on this front, they still have Chris and Helen to thank, because both of them encourage my team (as well as many others) to take opportunities which arise elsewhere in the library. . .
It is thanks to Helen that one of my new team members last year got to present inductions to groups of international students alongside the International Students Working Group, when she was just a few weeks into the job, and it was thanks to Chris that another of my team got to deliver an interactive PRS session in a lecture theatre of over 70 college students as part of a widening participation event.
So I feel that Chris and Helen are still supporting me and now helping me to support my team, long after our formal professional arrangements have ended. We also still have coffee sometimes - and probably should do that more.