Mentoring and Me: The Journey Continues
Read on to hear how some mentees and mentors from the current cohort are getting along in their mentoring journey. Have mentors used any particular approaches or tools and how have these helped their mentees? What do they hope to gain from their mentoring partnerships over the next few months?*
In the first ‘Mentoring and Me’ article we were introduced to mentoring pair Claire, Head of HR in a management consulting firm, and Sarah, HR Director in a Financial Services company. They were matched as Claire was seeking role-specific advice and support. She was keen to progress to an HR Director role, so Sarah is ideally placed to provide mentoring support.
On the topic of useful tools, Sarah says: “I’ve used the Tony Robbins DISC profile as I thought it might help my mentee better understand her own communication/work style and how she can adapt to meet the needs of others. In the past I’ve also used the GROW model (generally a helpful approach). I have also talked through Dr Carlos Davidovich’s “5 brains” theory – just because it’s interesting!”
Claire explains how Sarah’s approach has benefitted her so far: “One of the tools that she has shared with me is the Tony Robbins DISC and Motivator profiling application. This provides an overview of my behaviours and measures the intensity of characteristics using scales of directness and openness for each of the four styles being Dominance; Influence; Steadiness and Conscientious. This has been useful as it describes your characteristics, as well as others’, and therefore how to interact and read their behaviours and traits.”
Claire goes on to say: “I’m pleased to say that I have been promoted (at the beginning of the year) and feel sure my mentor has played a huge part in helping me with both my knowledge and confidence levels, which have certainly played a huge part in achieving my goal!” Claire is now keen to learn from her mentor’s experiences, become more confident in her abilities and deliver at the highest level. She especially wants to apply Sarah’s approach to managing her workload, so that she can operate more efficiently and effectively, for better results.
As for what Sarah hopes to gain during the remaining five months of the scheme: “I hope to develop my listening skills further, as well as see my mentee through upcoming changes in her workplace.”
Another mentor that we heard from in our last newsletter is Julia, Talent Development Manager in an Asset Management firm. She is mentoring Anna who has recently returned to a permanent role in Financial Services, following a period of time running a freelance consultancy business. Julia explains how she has worked with Anna so far: “I have used roleplay - to practice a conversation they wanted to have, network mapping – to map out their support system, resources sharing – recommending books, Instagram accounts and blogs of working mothers to follow.” All designed to help Anna through her first 90 days, address her concerns about her confidence levels as well as signposting support in managing her life/work balance.
Finally we turn to Catherine, a trainee solicitor being mentored by a partner in a law firm, and whom we also heard from last time. Catherine describes how her mentor sometimes assumes a “devil’s advocate role” during their discussions, which she finds useful in challenging her thinking and encouraging her to see alternate points of view. She says: “I appreciate the ongoing support that my mentor provides. I am able to “park” my work worries until I can discuss them with my mentor, rather than allow them to occupy head space that I need for other life issues.”
These stories highlight how there are formal tools and techniques, tried and tested coaching approaches and there are also the opportunities provided through creating a safe, confidential space in which invaluable support can be sought. Mentoring takes on many forms and there are clearly some valuable and mutually beneficial partnerships developing on this year’s scheme.
We finish with a quote from Julia: “I really value the time to connect with other professional females, hear their stories and understand what is going on in other organisations. It gives, and I hope will continue to give, me a valuable insight to other external environments. I also hope to continue to support and offer guidance from some of the experiences I have had so far.”
* Please note some names have been changed
About Sarah Tennant, Accredited Executive Coach, Facilitator and Cityparents Mentoring Programme Adviser:
Sarah established SLT Executive Coaching in 2017 and works across industries with individuals and teams. She specialises in coaching people through career transition points such as parental leave, returning following a career break, outplacement and career change. She thrives on helping people and organisations manage change and build resilience, and is a strong advocate for working cultures that support people to develop their careers at all stages of their lives.