So, this is my story of working with my mentor on the 30% club cross company mentoring scheme.
I felt apprehensive when I first met my mentor but also excited. She was based in York and I am based in Surrey so we were going to need to be clever about the logistics some face to face, some by phone.
Being clear about what I wanted to focus on in our mentoring sessions was really important. I was totally honest and outlined my wishes for my career progression within the next 12 months.
Our partnership has gone from strength to strength. My mentor has been truly inspiring for me and helped me achieve so much We have met numerous times and, even though our distances make this difficult, she has been willing to travel from York to London to meet me. This has helped me with my travelling on my own anxiety as the trips to London have become less of a trauma for me!
The content of our session has been varied including:
- Sharing life and work experiences, pulling on someone else’s knowledge who isn’t Toyota born and bred
- Discussing the things that make me anxious and being given some ideas and tools to overcome them, in an empathetic way
- Discussing career paths and how to turn knock backs into positives experiences
- Developing my elevator pitch to raise my profile
- Confidence building
- Clarity re what am I good at and how to turn these into meaningful discussions to share
- Presenting to others
- Great thinking around my career progression, how to focus this and apply for internal vacancies
And overall taking time out away from the office to focus on myself and being able to choose what I discuss has been great for my wellbeing overall
The outcomes has been really positive for me professionally:-
I have grown in confidence, raised my profile and invited to take part in numerous projects where my contribution has been valued. I have taken part in a number of internal development programmes, our Women on the Verge of Brilliance programme and I am an active part of our Women in Business Group. I have been recognised for my development, being offered a 6 month secondment and been asked to become a Wellness Champion in the business.
My development continues though as now I am looking to work with one of our internal coaches to continue my progression. My mentor continues to support me giving me tips professionally and using her own experience in Managing a Team. This has been invaluable to me.
I remember that when briefed by our HR Team at the start of the mentoring programme that your mentoring journey may change as we can’t predict what’s around the corner but, no matter where you are in life, a relationship with a mentor can be invaluable. Getting a secondment didn’t mean I no longer needed my mentor, in fact, I needed her more. All our previous discussions were not wasted as they are what helped me get here. The same open and honest conversations that take place are just as important and by admitting where you might need help means you get more out of the programme than what you might have expected. Admitting where you need to develop or discussing your fears is not a weakness – it’s a strength.
I have truly met a support option I can rely on for years to come. My mentor has spoken openly and honestly about her experiences and used them to help me in any way she can. She has been attentive, caring and motivating with a real can do attitude.
As for me, yes it has been a partnership, yes it’s scary when you first start out but it’s so worth it and my advice to anyone who is contemplating it, you’d be a fool not to.
Article written by Carrie Hammond