Altair delivers first ever “cross-sector mentoring programme” in social housing

Posted: 1st May 2013

Altair delivers first ever “cross-sector mentoring programme” in social housing

Commercial acumen is a phrase that is appearing in an increasing number of person specifications for head of service or assistant director level roles. This is due to the increasingly complex and fast moving world that housing associations find themselves in.

The realisation that exposure to the operational pressures of a commercial environment, and the increasing need to develop fast-moving and innovative strategic approaches further down the management ladder, led a large midlands based housing association to commission Altair to create a cross-sector mentoring programme for nine of its heads of service.

Altair tailored the programme to suit the participants’ own challenges. We handpicked private sector mentors who could help individual participants become self-aware, strategic leaders, and corporate players.

The programme involved six two-hour mentoring sessions and four workshops with external speakers leading facilitated discussions covering topics such as: business development, sales and marketing, becoming more commercial, calculated risk-taking, creating fast-moving, agile and responsive teams.

The participants also undertook a practical group project. This provided the chance to work together, developing working relationships and understanding each other’s strengths, and enabled them to put the skills and learning from their mentoring sessions into practice. The group chose how often to meet and how to develop the work programme.

The participants’ line mangers and the chief executive were involved throughout, and the results of the group project were presented at a half-day workshop.

Now, with the programme nearly completed, we have received very positive feedback. All participants found the value of mentoring excellent or good, and there were positive reports that the programme gave participants the opportunity to consider how to work differently. All participants have rated the programme content as excellent or good – one of the appeals being that it isn’t bogged down in theory.

We have been commissioned to run a further programme for our client next year. If you would like to find out more about our cross-sector mentoring programme please contact Sarah Palmer at Altair on 07806 602933 or email:

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