Fiona is completing her university studies and is seeking a career as a social worker. She needs encouragement to enter the industry, with a reality check of what she can expect once she is working. She recognises the challenges and the professional responsibilities ahead. With the support of a mentor, a trusted counsellor or guide, who will share their knowledge, expertise and experience, it will enable Fiona to develop her abilities, and grow in the job role.
Who is a mentor?
A mentor is an experienced role model and trusted advisor who offers their knowledge and experience and provides advice to guide and support the mentee during their professional career journey. The goal of mentoring is to assist the mentee to improve themselves through skill and professional development to advance their career. Effective mentoring focuses on the needs of the mentee.
A mentor can be from the same industry, an employee from the organisation, or an industry network group. Importantly, the mentor will require personal attributes that facilitate the relationship and be well matched to the mentee’s needs and personality type.
How can Mentors Benefit Career Development?
The mentoring relationship is built on mutual trust, respect and communication to empower the mentee to progress within their role and set goals for professional development.
The mentoring relationship is built on mutual trust, respect and communication to empower the mentee to progress within their role and set goals for professional development. The mentoring journey commences by establishing goals – both long and short-term goals that the mentee sets for him or herself.
The long-term goal is the larger goal such as: attaining a job and successfully transitioning into the organisation or obtaining a promotion. Short-term goals are a series of milestones that form a step-by step approach to attain the long-term goal..
The mentoring process provides support for the mentee’s development that includes:
- examining professional issues that impact on the mentee
- obtaining exposure to new ideas and ways of thinking
- advising on developing strengths and overcoming weaknesses
- guiding professional development and career advancement
- developing new skills and knowledge
- obtaining recognition within the organisation
Mentoring is a fundamental process of human development. The benefits of mentoring are recognised for all parties: the mentee, the mentor, and the organisation.
Career Coaching and Training have developed an online Mentoring and Development course to support professional practice and high-level performance. The course consists of a core program, and two optional modules to address specific situations.
How can mentoring make a difference?
A mentee may be an INEXPERIENCED individual who is seeking to enter the industry, or EXPERIENCED seeking support to attain a promotion, or to identify their next step. A mentor provides valuable advice and encourages new perspectives, addresses workplace challenges to assist mentees to attain career goals, improve their professional practice with new knowledge and skills, and respond to industry challenges. The mentoring process identifies emerging talent and encourages continuous improvement through the ongoing relationship with the mentor.
Benefits to the mentee
- Gain insight and valuable advice to get ahead – The mentor is a sounding board who ‘has been there and done that.’ They guide you to overcome challenges and move forward in your career.
- Attain new perspectives – Through communication about issues and questions, you learn new ways of thinking to broaden your thinking and practice.
- Develop knowledge and skills – during the mentoring process to progress your career. Where a skills gap exists, a mentee may be advised about studying a recommended training program.
- Improve communication skills – Develop and tailor communication to address a range of audiences.
- Build your network – A mentor can assist you to expand your network of professional contacts.
- Advance your career – A mentor will support you to attain professional goals and overcome obstacles to advance your career.
Benefits to the mentor
Becoming a mentor offers the opportunity to develop professional qualities. These include:
- Gain professional recognition, build leadership skills and selfworth. Your professional standing is validated as you supervise the mentee’s development and career progress. As a mentor, you share knowledge and address personal issues that a mentee experience
- Advance your career as you communicate, coach and motivate a mentee. It will signal to the industry and organisation your role in ‘giving back’ to the industry, organisation and mentee. This is a powerful message and important in the business world.
- Improve your communication and interpersonal skills.
- Gain new perspectives by listening to the points of view of a mentee as they share their experience and background.
- Gain fulfilment and satisfaction to assist a mentee’s growth and development. As you encourage, support and empower a mentee’s success – it is personally and professionally rewarding.
Benefits to the organisation
- Provides a powerful message that the organisation values and is willing to invest in its members/employees.
- Develop an organisational culture of learning that promotes growth, co-operation amongst staff, high morale, and career development. A mentoring program builds a positive learning community.
- Encourage commitment and loyalty to the industry/organisation as it promotes engagement, retention to reduce turnover rates, and performance. It enables faster induction of new staff that overcomes and minimises early problems that individuals may face.
- Promote desired company behaviours and attitudes that are shared throughout the organisation, creating consistency and professionalism.