A number of our members who sign up to be mentors have had the experience of being a mentee at some point in their career. It is often this experience and the desire to offer the same guidance to someone else which drives mentees to take that step and become a mentor themselves.
Ancel Boucher, Utilities & Infrastructure Solutions Leader, IBM, has recently made this transition from being a mentee to becoming a mentor through the Institute of Water and has provided his perspective on the journey.
“A couple of years ago I went out of my way to search for a mentor for myself. I struck upon a really great mentor from outside of my own organisation with whom I was able to discuss my career goals and personal development needs. I found it incredibly useful to talk this through with someone removed from my day to day career progression and over time we built a relationship in a way where it wasn’t all for the mentee’s benefit, my mentor gained from my perspective on the industry and market as well as my own experiences in consulting.
When the Institute of Water advertised it was looking for mentors in the water industry I was quick to sign up, I thought it a great way to connect with those outside IBM. The process was quick and easy and I received a request through the system that I could simply review, accept and make the connection. Having learnt from my mentor, I was keen that we put some structure to the relationship and for my mentee to plan out what they want from the relationship before we met (to avoid the risk of it being just a nice chat).
With that agreed I could tell my mentee was serious and we met up face to face for an hour or so over a beer in London. My mentee is after some coaching on where to go next in his career, I was purposely open in my questioning and prompted him to think about options ahead and what each of these would do for him. We agreed some tasks that would be good for him to do before the next session which would put more structure around the next conversation. While this might seem like a highly logical way to approach the process, we did keep it light and explore all sorts of avenues together.
I am keen to give something back to those in the industry (passing on what I feel I gained from my mentor to another) and I also feel I will build on my own personal development as I develop my effective coaching experience. We keep in touch via email when necessary and I expect we’ll meet up every quarter or so and take it from there, I enjoy the experience and will be keen to continue it.”
Feeling inspired? CLICK HERE to find out more about becoming a mentor or a mentee and sign up to our online mentoring programme.