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Supporting fair and ethical business in partnership with The Co-operative Bank
Business Support for Co-ops – peer mentor handbook

Ways of working

Establishing a successful relationship with your client group

Once you have been matched with your client group we suggest that you:

  • Draw up a timetable of regularly spaced meetings in advance – this can be a combination of face to face meetings (one to one or group); telephone discussions; and email exchanges and will vary according to the group
  • Establish a set of ground rules
  • Keep notes of your meetings and use these as the basis for ongoing discussions. Remember to capture any specific issues or learning that can be used by the programme.
  • Work towards developing a trusting relationship and establishing a good rapport with your client group
  • Use your questioning and listening skills to establish your client group’s individual needs, remembering that these will be different based on them and their organisation’s background and experiences.

We don’t envisage that it will be necessary to have more than one face to face meeting and we would encourage you to do some of this by phone. Try to make the most of the first meeting and allow sufficient time.


It’s important that you respect each other’s confidentiality. Remember that anything you talk about when you meet up is between the two of you so you shouldn’t talk about it to someone else. But, legally, you should report any criminal conduct or possible harassment or bullying.

Four things to think about are:

  1. Concerns: If you’ve got any, contact the Business Support for Co-ops team.
  2. Secrets: Don’t promise to keep any secrets. Make that clear from the beginning and remember to ask your client if they mind you sharing confidential information with anyone else.
  3. Information: Keep information about your client (like their phone number) somewhere secure. Never share any of their financial details.
  4. You: Confidentiality works both ways. Be aware of those personal areas of your life you’re happy to share with your client and those you are not.

Early termination of the agreement

Although every effort will be made to ensure a close match between you and your client, sometimes this may still not work out. This may be not reflect on either party, and either party may finish the relationship, and exit the agreement.

If any issues arise during the programme, contact the Business Support for Co-ops team as soon as possible and every effort will be made to address any issues. Both parties will be contacted to confirm the situation and support if required another suitable Mentor/mentee may be arranged for both parties going forward.

Let Business Support for Co-ops team know when you’ve arranged your last session so that we can arrange a final review of both you and your client’s experience.