National Mentoring Day 2021: Why Mentoring Matters
To celebrate National Mentoring Day on 27th October, let us reflect on how far we have come this year in Bloom North. As we are all aware, many organisations offer mentoring programs and while some of these are decent and admirable, truly successful mentoring programs which can sustain success year after year is quite rare. Bloom North is evolving our rapidly expanding mentoring program having started on the journey three years ago with the recent added challenge of designing the program to work in a completely virtual environment.
This year we really took the time to develop the set-up, its objectives and the matches between mentors and mentees. Prior to this year’s mentoring kick off we added formal training led by the incredible Deena Gornick Executive and Board Level Coach. The best mentors always look at the situation from the mentee’s perspective, ask compelling questions, can let the mentee direct where the relationship needs to go, offer ‘tough love’ and know when to be compassionate. We were delighted this year with over 28 mentees matched with their mentors and although the 2021 program has come to an end for most of them, we have a few who are still meeting regularly and continuing the dialogue which is testament to how useful these interactions are. Before we embark on our 2022 program, we will take stock and have the mentees rate the program to further enhance the experience because here at Bloom North we know mentoring is not a static activity. Programs need to be adjusted considering internal and external factors particularly as the workforce are slowly returning the office whilst embracing, in some instances, hybrid working pattern. Please look out for the survey coming in November if you were part of this year’s program. Looking forward I want to share why I mentor and how fabulous it is to get out of the comfort zone and commit to these programs. When I first started out on this journey a long time ago I remember feeling a sense of acute fear with regards to guiding another person through their challenges and thinking ‘what the hell do I know?!’.
Well, let me tell you after working in our wonderful, complex and sometimes unfair industry the answer is a lot. I have experienced great joy in seeing mentees move from what have been, quite frankly, toxic environments and land themselves in their dream jobs without telling them what to do but just through listening, offering guidance, making real plans and enabling them to look at their situation from another angle. All the time being incredibly mindful of the fact that these changes in direction have to absolutely come from themselves. Seeing people start to challenge the status quo within their own areas of work and organisations and the confidence grow is nothing short of a privilege. There is so much to gain from hearing confidentially some of the extremely challenging situations mentees find themselves wrapped up in, and then the realisation one can actually supply tools to assist in their navigation to a more positive place because, as a mentor it is easy to forget how well equipped we are as a consequence of our own experiences. I personally feel it is an absolute duty to impart knowledge and most importantly listen and give my mentees fresh eyes to be successful which more often than not, comes with an enormous amount of bravery on their part.
I have always maintained I love the industry I work in but there is still a long way to go to improve it and this is why I celebrate mentoring. I celebrate it, I wish I had experienced the opportunity to have a mentor in my earlier years, I really do. My passion for working voluntarily with the amazing group of women at Bloom grows every day and whilst we are all juggling our day to day I reflect on the opportunity we provide for other women across the industry and it feels good.
I look forward to next years program and encourage anyone who feels they could be part of our dedicated Bloom North women to sign up as a mentee or offer your time to be a mentor.
Happy Mentoring Day.