Friday, 3 May 2013

Mentoring Series - Pete Mosley

In the third part of my Mentoring Series I got to chat to Pete Mosley, who some of you may recognise, as the Business Editor for craft&design magazine. I first became aware of Pete when a friend recommended I buy his book and I then got to meet him last year at BCTF and also attended his creatve garden party last summer. I have also been thinking about signing up for one of the Refectory Table training days and was lucky enough to be able attend one of Pete's sessions at the National Centre for Craft and Design earlier this year.

Pete Mosley has worked in the arts since 1977, and coaches and advises creative individuals and small creative businesses. He also writes about the business of creativity – as business editor for craft&design magazine, creating both online and offline content for the magazine and other prominent blogs including Design Trust, Creative Choices and Cockpit Arts.

His book – Make Your Creativity Pay, was co-published with craft&design magazine in July 2011. He also creates the really popular and well-regarded online toolkits like The Creative Business Explorer He presents at national conferences and events, and designs and delivers talks, training events, and continuing professional development programmes for creative industry groups, universities, museums and galleries and private companies.

Recent talks and workshops include Creative Business days for the National Centre for Craft & Design, Creative Greenhouse, Crafts in the Bay and Yorkshire Artspace. Upcoming workshops include sessions for Craft’s Council’s Injection programme at Crafts Council HQ and creative business courses for Birmingham University’s School of Jewellery summer school.

Pete works closely with Janet Currie, Creative Director of The Refectory Table to provide tailor made training for small groups of creatives in intimate settings –with great food!

He has very kindly agreed to share an insight into his work and the benefits of working with a mentor for creative practitioners. This is what he had to say:

How long have you been mentoring?

I've worked in the arts all my life and have been mentoring for over 20 years now. Initially, I worked as Town Artist in Chorley for 3 years, then worked in arts in education both in this country and in New York. I built up a huge amount of knowledge, skill and experience in the field of creative self-employment.

What made you decide to become a business mentor?

I was encouraged to do it by a couple of significant people at Arts Council who valued my perspective and my practical experience of self employment over a very long period of time (since 1984). I started off being commissioned by Arts Council to run training courses for Arts Council supporting artists and makers with ideas for creative self-employment and then I was encouraged to extend my work into supporting arts organisations too. They provided me with a huge amount of training and support over a number of years. Subsequently, I also worked with them to set up the first formal region-wide mentoring scheme for creative people in the East Midlands. I mentor intuitively, but have a postgraduate qualification professional and personal coaching.


What kind of people do you usually work with and what kind of topics and issues do you cover in your mentoring sessions?

Wow! That’s big question, I work across all artforms – currently I’m mentoring two furniture makers, a graphic designer, a contemporary musician, an illustrator, a painter, and a potter who is on a residency in Australia. These are all quite long term relationships – with the sessions spread out over a number of months – longer in some cases.

How do you structure your mentoring sessions?

My sessions don't follow a fixed formula. I work on a tailor made basis. First, I work with the mentee to come up with a package – often a mixture of Face to Face meetings, telephone and email sessions - that suits them and their working style. I do some Skype work with people that are too remote to meet with – or in other countries – I had a client in Switzerland recently, and worked with an artist in Aberdeen - both via Skype – which is a great alternative if you can’t physically meet. Sometimes what I do is very practical - helping with funding applications, or helping someone get a book published, for example.

Sometimes, the work digs deeper. When you work alone, or in isolation, you can get stuck in a loop. A mentor can find and challenge patterns of unhelpful behaviour. It's not all about advice either - it should be about asking well chosen, incisive questions that provoke new chains of thought, new seams of creativity or entrepreneurialism that can then be tapped in order to take big steps forward. I have also developed an online creative business development toolkit – the Creative Business Explorer, which people can use as a stand alone virtual learning environment, or use in conjunction with the coaching or other training.

What kind of benefits could someone gain from having a mentor?

To use the words from my own blog - fresh thinking. A mentor should provide objectivity, perspective and challenge. It should be a balance of diagnostic, exploration, support and advice. A good mentor shouldn't be telling you what to do, but be thought provoking in such a way as to help you uncover and develop new thinking, solutions to problems and the personal strategy you need in order to move forward at an appropriate pace. Yes, goal setting is part of the process, but so is the encouragement to evolve your practice organically over time. Sometimes it's tiny steps, sometimes very rapid bursts of change.

What are the benefits/rewards of being a mentor?

I often think that I learn just as much from the people that I work with as they learn from me - true mentoring is very much about creative give and take - a meeting of minds. When the chemistry is right some fairly transformative work takes place - and that is deeply rewarding.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering working with a mentor?

Choose wisely. Make sure the chemistry is right. The decision should never be based on cost or convenience. Talk to a number of different mentors - a good mentor should be open to an initial conversation free of charge and without obligation. When you find the right person it will feel right - you'll feel as if a connection has been made on more than just a logical level. Don't rush towards getting a result. Coaches have a saying: 'stay with the not knowing' . Sometimes it can take a while for the right options or decisions to become obvious to you. It's too easy to rush a decision just for the satisfaction of a bit of certainty. Make a decision in haste, repent at leisure! Take your time.

You can contact Pete by email at: Twitter: @petemosley
His other online links are here: Facebook  Personal blog Book website

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