The topic for the NAWO NSW Networking Event on Friday 12 June was Mentoring and why it’s important for both your professional and personal development to engage in a mentoring relationship.
As they were so many great takeaways during the sessions, we have included some highlights from our keynote speaker – Mentor and Executive coach, Conor O’Malley, some ideas from the networking breakout groups and the Q&A:
- We co-create our mentoring relationships, it is a meeting of equals and a partnership
- We are meeting to workshop or co-create our future, therefore it is important to reflect on what we can bring to the mentor/mentee relationship to co-create
- Mentoring is an ACTIVE not a Passive process
A mentor can be from inside the organisation – my boss can also be a mentor – as well as outside the organisation
- That we can be both a mentor and a mentee at the same time – someone is our mentor and I can mentor someone else
- Opportunities to reflect on the many sounding boards we have….notion of “creating your own Board”
- Creating informal mentoring relationships can be incredibly helpful and shouldn’t be overlooked
- Debriefing after key learning opportunities with others helps cement and crystallise the relevance to your own situation
- Having a mentoring relationship with someone who has common ground with you and experience in what you are trying to achieve is important
- Having a relationship and environment with a mentor where ‘there are no stupid questions’ and a ‘safe space’ is created is important
- A good mentor may, over time, become a ‘sponsor’, opening up opportunities for greater visibility within the organisation and externally
- It is ok to put a timeframe on the mentoring relationship so that it is not awkward to ‘leave’ and move on to another mentor
- Be purposeful in looking for a mentor, however let the Mentor ‘come to you’ through those conversations.
What we want in a mentor:
- A listener
- Someone who seeks to understand me, as a person
- Someone who helps me understand myself
- Experience that helps them guide us
- Someone who talks about values and how they guide us, but don’t try to solve our problems or tell us what to do
- The concept of looking for the ‘perfect mentor’ is somewhat flawed and perhaps looking for many different mentors – e.g: having a financial mentor and an engineering mentor.
- Someone who has credibility, is respected and is an influencer
What we don’t want:
- A ‘wise owl’ who wants to tell us how to do things
- Someone who thinks their job is to ‘fix us’
Do you need to know your path, before identifying a mentor? Or does a mentor actually help find your path?
Response: You need to know the reason or “for the sake of what” you want a mentor. Once you have that clarity then find the right mentor to assist you work out what exactly it is you want from the relationship. That person will emerge and “come to you”.
Thanks to the NSW Committee for setting up and facilitating such an interactive and valuable online discussion.