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Mentors have to be able to ask difficult questions

Elizabeth Edgar
Mentor Eliz Edgar provided guidance during the coronavirus crisis

When the coronavirus crisis emerged, managing director Neil Adley turned to his mentor for advice. 

Accenture senior operations manager Elizabeth (Eliz) Edgar started mentoring Neil last year, after being introduced through the Mentoring for Growth programme. She encouraged him to prepare for the crisis in advance.

“I drew on my Accenture experience and asked some very pointed questions around his company’s readiness, preparedness and contingency planning for coronavirus,” she said.

Figuring out the next iteration of the business

Working together as the situation progressed, Eliz and Neil discussed the available government support for SME businesses and worked to find a way forward for 

“As a mentor, I had to ask some difficult questions. I needed them to work out a way they could stay connected to each other, their customers and their community,” Eliz said.

“They had to figure out what the next iteration of their business could be and leverage design thinking and innovation. That way, they can come out of the gates strong when social distancing measures are lifted and be a healthy business.”

Working to thrive rather than survive

Working with a mentor helped Neil Adley stay ahead of his peers

Neil believes having Eliz as a mentor saved his business from crashing. Like most businesses, was unprepared for the scale of the crisis.

“We had already struck up a great rapport and had discussions about developing our business leadership, sales leadership and more agile design thinking.  All great stuff. And then coronavirus happened.

“Eliz was able to share what we needed to do both in preparation to work from home and communicate with the team. We were well ahead of our peers and the business was actually doing really well with remote working. With Eliz’s advice we had the team buzzing,” he said.

Neil’s looking forward to working more with Eliz and finding ways to “thrive rather than survive”. Eliz is also enjoying her experience as a mentor.

“It has all been incredibly humbling and rewarding. I truly believe that what we do now – during coronavirus – will define us and our generation.”

Learn more about the Mentoring for Growth programme and find out how you can become involved or get access to an experienced mentor.

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