Saskia Jones, Communications Coach, has been acting as a mentor to Sharon Viccars, who is the global Internal Communication Executive at Domino Printing Sciences, a leading global supplier of coding solutions and printing technologies.
Sharon, what have been the benefits of mentoring for you as a mentee?
As a professional, approachable and impartial mentor, Saskia has provided me with structured opportunities to step away from the day to day functions of IC. This has enabled me to take a focused, reflective and considered overview of the developing global IC strategy of the organisation.Our planned regular meetings keep me centred on achieving my objectives for both the organisation and my personal development.
Saskia, what have you enjoyed about mentoring Sharon?
I love working with Sharon. She is always very organised and full of enthusiasm. Working with her always energises me, as we discuss the progress she has made on the areas we are working on together, and the next steps before the following meeting.
I also enjoy sharing specific internal communications resources and knowledge that can help Sharon with her goals. I'm constantly reading and writing about internal communications, and it's great to utilise this, such as giving links to articles, books or templates.
Sharon is very self-motivated - it's fulfilling to support her and see her thrive at what she does.
Sharon, how do you think it benefits your organisation to have a mentor?
Having a mentor is different to the relationship you have with a manager or colleague. Having a mentor provides an opportunity to discuss business challenges without corporate bias, encouraging fresh and innovative solutions.
Saskia, how do you think mentoring benefits organisations?
I think organisations in general can benefit on multiple levels by enabling staff to have a mentor. Having an outside, objective viewpoint from a mentor can really help strengthen the internal communications function, by providing fresh perspectives, ideas and resources.On an individual level, giving staff the opportunity to have a mentor shows them that they are valued and can create a more positive work environment. I had a mentor from a very early stage in my career and found it invaluable.
What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a mentor or mentee?
It is important to recognise that mentoring can support you at all stages of your career, whether participating as a mentor or mentee.
For a mentorship programme to be truly effective the relationship needs to be built on a high level of trust to ensure a free flow of information. It is important to ensure that you share enthusiasm for the same IC focus areas. You will both enjoy it more if you can motivate and inspire each other.
I agree, having a strong connection is important, and having a relevant work background. Sharon works in a global organisation with a diverse workforce. Most of my work is in complex, global organisations with dispersed audiences, so I feel I can strongly relate to her context and draw from my experience.
I'd also say how important it is to have focused objectives. Sharon was clear from the start on her goals for the sessions together, and we regularly reflect on these and capture achievements and plans. We also always have a clear agenda for our calls which helps us make the most of our time together. The IoIC provide a template for mapping your goals and background reading on deciding where you want to focus, including their useful competency framework.
Overall, my advice to any mentor or mentee would be go for it! It is such a rewarding experience and the IoIC provide an excellent framework for connecting with others and building your knowledge and expertise.