Mentoring fits with many organizations’ values of leadership, inclusion, and giving back to their communities. At TRIEC we live these values too, and many of the TRIEC team have volunteered as mentors. We asked colleagues at TRIEC who have been mentors in TRIEC Mentoring Partnership to share what they’ve learned from the experience.
Tulan Ma is now supporting her second mentee in TRIEC Mentoring Partnership. Tulan has grown as a mentor by adjusting her coaching style to her mentee’s needs, their past experiences and their culture.
“I talk with my mentees about what help they need. They may be working on how to present their experience and skills in the Canadian context and developing their résumé. Or, they may be ready to focus on building their network. Have these conversations up-front.”
Tulan also noted how being a mentor really helped her think differently about her own work.
“Volunteering in the program gave me a lot of insight. It helps me think about my work from new perspectives. I think this is an important skill for any professional.”
Rachel Crowe has completed two mentoring partnerships as a mentor in TRIEC Mentoring Partnerships. Rachel says that mentoring was a very positive experience for her. She found it was a chance to draw on her resourcefulness and connect mentees with other professionals. She offered the following advice to fellow mentors.
“Look for as many ways as possible to connect your mentee with contacts for information interviews. Ask any colleagues, past clients or contractors as well as friends, if they or someone they know is able to meet for a coffee or information interview and offer advice to your mentee.”
Further, she suggests focussing on success beyond the job offer.
“Discuss their job search, but also what happens after they get hired. Talk about probationary periods and what employers look for. Have a conversation about different workplace norms like team meetings and how these may be similar or different to what your mentee is used to.”
Margaret Eaton has volunteered as a mentor three times through TRIEC Mentoring Partnership. Margaret suggests helping your mentee develop a vision for their future career. “Work with your mentee to create a picture of their ideal job, and what they want to achieve in the short and long term. This will help both of you narrow and refine their job search.”
Beyond helping get a great job, mentors also provide support. “Check in with your mentee on how they’re feeling; not only what they’re doing. Job searching is hard, lonely work, and a mentor can be a source of support. And, as a mentor, don’t get discouraged if your mentee isn’t having immediate success. Encourage them to be proactive. Their continuous effort will lead to success.”
Lastly, Margaret suggests not trying to be the authority on all things. “As a mentor, you’re one of many voices that your mentee will hear. Your mentee will get competing advice even from the people with whom you connect them. You can help them sort through what they hear, but it’s ultimately up to the mentee to decide what to act on.”