Meet Martin and his colleagues who helped a charity with data insights.

PA Consulting’s London office has a team that works magic with data to produce strategic insights for their clients. When we approached Martin Knoebel to ask for help mentoring Sam at Bloodwise the whole team decided to pitch in and support Sam during his own data insights project.

Sam, Timothy, Robert, Michael and Martin (L-R) from PA Consulting

Big thanks to Sam Waites, Michael Carver, Robert Belcher, Timonthy Ip and Martin who have each answered one of the questions below.

What made you decide to help a charity with Cohort?

Sam: Cohort provides a platform where your contribution really helps an individual and allows you to see the direct impact it will make on the way they can support their charity. It is enjoyable and effective to pass on your skills knowing what the mentee learns can be used again and again.

How were you able to help Sam?

Michael: Sam was especially interested in how to be more data-driven to structure and solve business problems. Three key themes emerged from our discussions:

1. Frameworks for problem structuring — we discussed some practical frameworks that we use in consulting engagements, talked through specific examples and helped Sam apply them.

2. Coaching on data-driven techniques — we coached Sam on how to approach assignments where clients have lots of data but don’t know what it means for them or where they have very little data and need help to collect the right things to make good decisions.

3. Guidance on gaining buy-in and implementing change — we discussed one of the most challenging aspects of our projects which is implementing change and achieving buy-in from key stakeholders and decision makers.

What did you get out of the experience?

Robert: The experience helped me better understand our clients perspective and reminded me of the power of leadership support and direction when solving fundamental business problems. Helping Sam, a new analyst, achieve senior management support for data driven projects was an interesting challenge.

The insight Sam offered into the charity sector was all new to me and has inspired me to engage in more CSR related activities. Bloodwise is a superb charity with clearly excellent people and I am glad to have had the opportunity to support it in an area I love.

What would you say to anyone thinking about mentoring?​

Timothy: I would definitely recommend it! It was fulfilling to know we were helping Sam to up skill and really make a difference with his work. It’s definitely a two-way street and we learnt a huge amount from Sam about the charity, how they operate and how I could take that understanding to my work. It helped that Sam was so keen to learn and it was great working as a team of mentors as we were able to provide different perspectives and skill sets too.

How did you find being a mentor with Cohort?

Martin: Cohort makes mentoring easy. Cohort puts a lot of effort into matchmaking which ensures that the mentoring relationship if fruitful for both sides. The clear framework Cohort provides helps you get started quickly, even though the program if flexible enough to structure the sessions in a way that works best. The continued support we received from Cohort assured that we made it successful the even when time was limited. Mentoring with Cohort just works.

What previous experience do you have with mentoring?

The majority of the team had no previous experience with mentoring.

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