WIBF arranged an exciting panel event focusing on Mentoring at the Lloyds Banking Group offices in Brindleyplace. Mentoring, so what? Seems to be a lot of hype around mentoring but what does it actually mean? What benefits (if any) can having a mentor bring?
The panel left to right included some experienced and talented individuals:
Liz McPhail, WIBF Birmingham Board Member – PEP Lead
Jasbir Virdi, Team Leader at Lloyds Banking Group
Jennie Koo – Capital One, Head of Operations Risk Management & WIBF Chair
Serina Obodoefuna – Senior Manager at PWC
Diane Asbury – Corporate Tax Senior Manager at PWC
Tara Zutshi – WIBF Board Member & Beacon Women Ltd
There was good energy in the room, loads of probing questions and healthy, positive discussions taking place. I took some notes to share; hopefully they will assist you with your own mentoring journey. This is just a document capturing views and tips that were shared on the day, there is no hard, fast rule and definitely not a one size fits all (if only life was like that!)
Why have mentors?
It builds your confidence because when it’s done right its good for pushing you out of your comfort zone towards your goals. It’s a reality check and it reaffirms that whatever you’re going through is ‘ok’. It’s a safe environment to talk in about how you really feel.
What makes a great mentee?
Someone that is open and honest, this was a key theme through the evening, both the mentor and mentee need to be completely open and honest about what they both want to get out of their relationship. Openness and honesty build trust which is fundamental in a successful mentoring journey.
Serina – Be committed
Jas – Be dedicated and put yourself first!
Diane – Be open and honest
Jenny – Plan your mentoring sessions so you get the most out of them – it shows the mentor you are serious about your career development
Liz – One size doesn’t fit all, listen, reflect and tailor your own career path
Panel discussion hints and tips:
It’s ok to have more than one mentor and they can be either internal from your own organisation or external.
Don’t just be a mentee – why not become a mentor too? Share the love. Why not pass on what you’ve learned and help someone else progress? This also raises your profile.
Set yourself up for success
Be honest if it’s not working for you because the right fit is extremely important. Someone who has a similar career journey to you is able to sympathise rather than empathise which makes the world of difference.
Reverse mentoring is when a junior colleague coaches a senior colleague. This is becoming ever more popular and it’s important that the mentee in this situation leaves their power at the door for successful reverse mentoring relationship.
It’s important to remember to set boundaries, for example, as a mentor, you want to be able to equip your mentee with sufficient skills to help them to deal with issues/ situations themselves – not step in and save the day.
Mentoring relationships can last as long as you want but generally it’s a year in line with development goals.
You can have more than one mentor, different people can mentor you for different things for example you could have a mentor because you want to learn how to get more tech savvy and you could have a mentor because you are working towards a promotion. Just be clear with the mentor (and yourself) about why you want mentoring in the first place.
There are differences between mentoring, coaching and sponsorship. Let’s have a quick look at each:
A coach is someone who:
• Is usually internal to the organisation that you work for
• will ask you loads of questions
• doesn’t really answer questions
A mentor is someone who:
• can be internal or external from the organisation that you work for
• asks questions
• will share experiences and knowledge
• gives potential answers to help you solve situations yourself
A sponsor is someone who
• is usually internal to the organisation that you work for
• advocates for you
• ensures your name is ‘kept on the table’ in discussions internally (i.e performance ratings, potential promotions etc.)
• You might not realise that you have ‘silent’ sponsors – e.g. your line manager
Remember you can have multiple coaches, mentors and sponsors!
How do mentors manage expectations?
• Breakdown goals
• Work on them – find the solutions
• Achieve the goal
• Celebrate the achieving of the goal
• Be a good sounding board – listening skills are imperative!
Line managers and mentoring
It’s important to think about your relationship with your mentor and how this impacts your line manager. Be open with your line manager and inform them that you have a sponsor/coach/mentor. If your line manager disagrees with you having a mentor, have the confidence to be honest and explain that this is what you want to help develop your career.
As touched on in this piece, being able to listen, like really listen and home in on what is being said in the mentor/mentee session is key to a successful mentoring relationship. Be mindful and committed to the mentoring relationship, switch your tech off, be present and listen to the key messages, you don’t want to miss that golden nugget of advice that could be just what you needed to hear to help you take the next step on your career journey.
If you’ve read all the way to here then firstly thank you! You would have noticed that the key theme without a doubt is being open and honest. Just like any relationship if you want it to be meaningful and valuable you need to be committed and make the effort.
WIBF have mentors and mentees from across industry ready to be matched. Mentors can certainly open doors and guide mentee’s on the path to success. Having an external mentor from outside of your organisation can work wonders; it gives you that broader perspective which encourages you to think outside the box. If you’re not a member of WIBF sign up now on the website www.wibf.org.uk its only £66 per annum and this will not only give you access to the mentoring scheme but also included in the price is access to the exclusive workshops we hold in Birmingham and nationwide. The next event is titled ‘How to be more confident’ and it is going to be hosted by Joy Burnford, a leading authority on women’s leadership development and founder of My Confidence Matters on 5th February (see the WIBF site for registration). Can you afford to miss these development opportunities on our doorstep in Birmingham?