Mentoring and Motorbikes

Article by Tarnya Brink 03.08.16

So now you are wondering what on earth mentoring and motorbikes have to do with one another.

Let me give you some context. When I take off my business suit, I put on my protective gear and get on my 650 Kawasaki Vulcan S and whenever possible together with my husband and/or sons, who all ride too, we go out for a couple of hours on the bikes. Whilst this could be a stressor for some people, this is my stress relief (or mid-life crisis perhaps J )

With my suit back on, one of the parts of being an HR consultant I love, is being able to develop and mentor people and run programmes that enable others to mentor people.

So, how are my two passions aligned? I am currently undertaking an Advanced Motorcycling course through Coventry Warwick Advanced Motorcyclists (CWAM), accredited by the Institute for Advanced Motorcyclists (IAM), and as I was writing a proposal for an advanced mentorship workshop for a client, my husband pointed out the similarities.

I develop and run business mentorship programmes, which can be used to support different types of development within companies:

– People new to their role or company, where a mentorship programme can support induction

– People aspiring to move from good to great in their current role, who may or may not aspire to management or further role progression

– Managers who are qualified and experienced, and want to become tomorrow’s leaders of their business

The IAM course follows the same principles of any good mentoring course:

1. A clear aspiration to achieve your goal

2. An assessment to ascertain what level you currently perform at, against clearly set out criteria, followed up with an effective one-page report

3. Being realistic about the time and pace that progress will happen. Am I going to finish in 3 weeks – No, 3 months – hopefully.

4. Working with a single mentor to make progress at a steady pace that you dictate, but having access to numerous other people for support (and in the business sense, sometimes skills or knowledge that the primary mentor doesn’t have)

5. Clear feedback in a positive manner – instant verbal feedback, followed up with a written sheet against the criteria from your initial assessment so that you can track your progress

6. Support – demonstrations (where appropriate), additional support material, clearly identified areas to practice/develop

7. Clarification where necessary

8. Ultimately, getting ready for the final assessment to see whether or not you have achieved your goals

One of the principles of this course is that you already hold a license, and have some riding experience. For my qualified and experienced group of mentees, this is no different. If I was working with a group of Directors/Partners in a Professional service firm and they wanted to mentor their managers, those managers will already be qualified and experienced. The aspiration is to develop the leaders of the future and to add to their current skills set, perhaps change a few of those comfort zones and bad habits they may have picked up along the way, and at their own pace develop them into reaching their full potential.  


One comment on aspirations. Understand why people want to aspire to what they have set as their goal right at the start so that the programme can be bespoke to them. Help them to visualise what that will look like at the end of the programme, and allow them to set their own individual aspirations.  

Some people are great in the jobs they do, don’t want to become managers, but are put into positions that they subsequently fail in – this is because it wasn’t their aspiration to be a manager in the first place.


So why am I doing the IAM course? I aspire to be the best and safest rider that I can be using the techniques that have been reinforced by my mentor which statistics show results in the significant reduction in serious accidents and injuries to those who have achieved Advanced status – why wouldn’t you want to do it.  


If you are interested in discussing mentorship programmes in the workplace, please contact me at​


If you are a biker in the Coventry & Warwick area, please have a look at the website, not only is there the course but some super social rides exploring the countryside with very experienced riders. With thanks to my mentor and all the other great people I have met at CWAM.

And this is the site for IAM (offering Advanced courses for motorists and motorcyclists)