BY JULIA GOGA-COOKE MANY YEARS AGO, in my late thirties and with a fair amount of experience in journalism and managing teams, I was offered the possibility of having a mentor. It was part of the BBC scheme of developing young leaders. I had come to identify the mentor figure with the best bosses I had had till then, but I had never had a formal mentor outside of the department where I worked. So I leapt at the opportunity. The first meeting was arranged, I was excited and a bit nervous too!  I knocked on his door and suddenly felt so self-aware! What would he make of me?! Before I could finish the thought ….the door opens and a very athletic young man, with a cheerful face welcomes me in. “I’ve come to meet Tom”, I said. “That’s me”, he replied. I was lost for words. My brain was battling it out between the different selves. Shall I leave? No, that would be rude! Why have they paired me with someone so young to mentor me? Do they think I’m a complete newbie? “Nice to meet you Tom” was all I managed, while surely the lines on my face and my body language were saying, “I’m just about to leave actually”. “I’m a coach by profession “, he said with ease and confidence, “ I work in learning and development”. Not in radio, or television? Nope! Needless to say, that day he met the mentee from hell. All I could think about was, I’ve got so much to do back in the office, why am I wasting mine and his time”.  After one more session, we decided it wasn’t going anywhere. To this day I feel terribly embarrassed of my behaviour, [...]

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