It’s National Mentoring Month and to celebrate I’d like to tell you about the experiences I’ve gained both as a mentor and mentee throughout my civil service career.
When you think of mentoring, it’s easy to assume that the mentor is a senior person sharing their knowledge with the mentee, someone further down the corporate ladder. While this relationship can help a mentee develop their career, there are different types of mentoring relationships that can benefit both the mentor and mentee.
The reverse mentoring scheme and mutual mentoring scheme are programmes where senior leaders are mentored by individuals from under-represented backgrounds and given the opportunity to shape the culture of the organisation. For a senior leader it’s a valuable way of connecting with individuals at different grades.
At my very first meeting as a mentor, I felt nervous because I didn’t know if we would click. As a mentor, you need to feel comfortable making suggestions based on your own experiences of life inside and outside of work. I needn’t have worried as my mentee was easy to talk to. I’d discuss my mentee’s goal and planned sessions to ensure we both achieved our targets at the end of each meeting.
Why you should take up mentoring
There are numerous benefits to mentoring and my main one was personal growth. I’ve developed a range of skills, knowledge and experience that have helped me carry out my day-to-day role but also progress in my career at DIO through a promotion.
I gained listening skills as I was limited to one hour mentoring sessions so it was really important that I listened carefully and clarified discussions clearly. This made me change the way I communicated with individuals, ensuring that I always listened to my colleagues.
My confidence has grown as a result and I’ve been able to have open, honest and confidential discussions with a senior leader without being afraid of voicing my opinion. I’ve provided feedback to my mentee, which has helped them solve problems, evaluate their leadership and communication styles, think differently about organisational and team issues and help them make decisions. I would often get asked about what I would do in situations and it was rewarding to see that my mentee really valued my contribution and made time to listen to me.
I’ve also learnt more about different business areas, gained insight into how senior leaders think and become more engaged in the organisation. I wouldn’t have gained this knowledge without taking part in mentoring.
Mentoring can also help provide you with networking opportunities, help you achieve your goals and seek new ways of overcoming challenges. It’s also a great way to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and improve on your skills. A mentor is someone that will guide you to help you achieve your career and development goals.
I loved mentoring and I would definitely recommend doing it. It made me feel proud of working for DIO and valued. Mentoring is just one of the benefits of working at DIO, if you’re interested in joining us look out for jobs on Civil Service Jobs and our LinkedIn page.