Why would anyone give up their own time to help someone they don’t know? Why would anyone want to listen to a stranger?
From Paul, the mentor: I am a big fan of mentoring. There is a huge responsibility in being a mentor; I want to do it properly; I want to add value; and I remember all those who helped me out and the impact they had on my career.
As individuals and as professionals, we have competencies, knowledge (what we know) and skills (how we perform) which enable us to complete our duties and take responsibility for our roles, therefore, what is mentoring for? For me, it is one part of a bunch of things in my continuous learning journey, both as a mentor but also a mentee, but the best description I see is a form of wise counsel.
I remember, early on in my career, struggling with this: surely I just need to pass my exams and then everything will be great? Passing exams is really important, however, someone used a football analogy (I know, sorry): you can be the best winger, be world class at crossing the ball, and taking the best free kick etc. (pension exam), but if the manager puts you in as the goalkeeper (you’ve passed administration exams but your boss has asked you to Mentoring is the passing on of good judgement with an effective decision-making process, based on the experience of those who have gone before.
It isn’t a coach or a teacher; they are important but form part of the bigger picture.
I have been involved with the PMI for many years. I like what the organisation does, what it stands for, its members, the regional groups, the training and conferences. I would encourage anyone in the pensions world to join; its strength is in the commitment of its members, hence, why when the opportunity to get involved with mentoring arose, I jumped at the chance. I joined a list of those available for mentoring which is then made available to members who wish to be mentored, and I was matched up with Jas.
The matching was perfect. I have always found mentoring works better if you’re not in the exact same discipline e.g. operations or legal, and that you are a rank above where the individual would like to be. I find if you don’t bring day-to-day baggage with you, your discussions are more to the point.
Once matched up it is important to test the water to see if the chemistry is right. This should not be taken for granted and, if not right (no one’s fault), it’s better to stop there and then. Once established, you both need to set boundaries, dates, times, and discuss and agree ideal outcomes.
I like the wisdom and the ideas in books. I find reading lists exceptionally helpful; just to clarify, not the academic twenty books for an essay, but more the practical application. My current top 4 are;
- From Good to Great by Jim Collins
- 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
- Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
- 100 Year Life by Andrew Scott and Lynda Gratton
This article was featured in Pensions Aspects magazine October edition.
Last update: 7 October 2021
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