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  • Mentor for Growth

Circl <> Mentor for Growth

The best mentors are also the best coaches

Coaching and mentoring both exist for the same purpose: helping others to grow, develop and reach their full potential. They also encourage people to take responsibility for their own personal and professional development.

Despite working towards the same goal, there are a few differences that sometimes makes one approach more effective than the other. More often than not, coaching and mentoring complement each other. As a mentor programme, we’ve come to appreciate the value of the so-called ‘coach approach’.

Compared with mentoring, coaching is typically tailored to specific goals or outcomes, rather than general personal development. Good coaches will build up your confidence. Great coaches equip you with the skills to handle the known and unknown challenges that come your way. Understanding coaching techniques can help mentors become more confident in their ability to guide others to achieve self-awareness and encourage action. Circl, the leadership development program, is a testament to this.

Founded by Charlie Stainforth and Adrian Blair, Circl is on a mission to build inclusive leaders and promote social mobility. The company identifies and prioritises improvement areas for its participants. The team will then work with you to shape and grow your mindset.

We recently partnered up with Circl to explore the value of the ‘coach approach’ in creating inclusive leaders.

A workshop to remember

In our online workshop, Charlie and his team helped us explore the subtle differences between mentoring and coaching, and the skill sets required for both. Our cohort also had the chance to hear from three of Circl’s Future Leaders, who outlined how the ‘coach approach’ can create a nourishing environment for young employees from underrepresented backgrounds.

Here are a few key takeaways from their Q&A with the Future Leaders:

1️⃣Feedback, feedback, feedback: To support younger or entry-level people joining your team, make it a practice to provide constructive, empathetic feedback as well as asking for it in return (and listening!). Model self-awareness and be open with your own challenges. That will foster an environment where others can do the same.

2️⃣Inclusivity and under-representation are broad terms: Work out what this means in your organisation and to your employees. Include everyone in the conversation, learn from each other, and explore initiatives that allow differences to be recognised and celebrated!

3️⃣Listening is essential: To create a truly inclusive workplace, you have to listen to everyone's perspectives. Create safe spaces where everyone's voices and ideas can be heard without judgement.

We learned a lot from Charlie and his team. As our workplaces continue to change, so does our approach to leadership. Coaching and mentoring offer the chance to develop skills and relationships to thrive in this new environment.

MFG Cohort 4

As our current programme draws to a close, we’re gearing up for Cohort 4!

For the fourth year in a row, Mentor for Growth will connect mentors and mentees from tech-enabled, high-growth organisations. Our programme will give participants the opportunity to:

  • Investing in their personal and professional growth

  • Expand their network

  • Build their own self-awareness and self-belief

  • Reach for new goals

Who’s it for?

Mentees: Rising stars at any level of your organisation.

Mentors: Typically from the top three layers of your organisation, care about developing others (and have the time to do so!).

Companies: High-growth, tech-enabled, more than 300 employees, great UK representation, around +£50m turnover.


  • Commitment is needed by the end of July 2022.

  • Mentors and Mentees are added to the pool at the end of August 2022.

  • Matching will happen in that time, with kick-off in October 2022.


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