Saturday, November 15, 2014

CCT’s Business Mentoring Program: Also About Caring

Carson Tan, volunteer business mentor, giving a talk at the Transformative
Economic Empowerment training conference.
“Mentees don’t care about what you know until they know that you care.” This is how Carson Tan, volunteer mentor, described the relationship between mentees and mentors in the business mentoring program of the Center for Community Transformation (CCT) Credit Cooperative.

Speaking before an international group of development workers, Tan explained that mentoring in the Philippine context goes beyond plain business coaching, but involves mentoring on a personal level as well.  He spoke from experience, having been a business mentor for the past four years.

Tan, CEO and president of a water systems company, gave the talk during the Transformative Economic Empowerment (TEE), an annual training conference hosted by the CCT Training and Development Institute.

CCT’s mentoring program began in 2008 under a partnership with Sharpening Stone Australia. It has a ministry goal of mentoring and building CCT microfinance recipients who are engaged in business and helping them grow into strong Christian business people making an impact in their communities.  

According to Tan, the original approach was tweaked to adapt to Filipino culture because one-on-one sessions also involve listening to family or personal concerns of the mentee, and ministering to him or her through counselling and prayer. Mentees are microfinance recipients (referred to as community partners in CCT circles) with existing loans of P50,000 or more engaged in business other than a sari-sari store.

Mentors on the other hand are volunteers who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, a strong servant leadership attitude, more than five years of involvement in a business, and willingness to care for his or her mentee. 

The program starts off with all potential mentees attending a classroom-style series of lectures on topics that include basic business mindset and paradigm, basic business accounting and bookkeeping, marketing one’s products, and managing funds and family. 

The lectures are followed by group mentoring, which, Tan says, filters out those not committed to the program.  One-on-one mentoring – at least two hours each month – then takes place and can be held over a span of two years. Phases of the sessions cover helping the mentee understand himself as a business person, helping him understand his business and challenging him to grow it, helping him develop his dream in relation to his business, his family and his faith, and leading him and his family to Christ.   

Some 39 mentors occupying senior management roles in a wide range of businesses and industries are currently involved in the program  -- and more volunteers are being sought.

The TEE conference is hosted by the CCT Training and Development Institute in cooperation with ministry partners, Hope International, and Peer Servants. This year the conference brought together development workers from Burundi, Cameroon, India, Korea, Malawi, Singapore, South Africa, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States and Zambia.

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