Thinking about becoming a mentor?

Helen Deverell, IC Consultant, shares her experience as an IoIC Mentor.

31 Oct 2023
by Helen Deverell

Did you know that every year the IoIC receives more applications from mentees than it does mentors?

Maybe it’s not that surprising. Our profession is on the up – more and more people are entering it and are thirsty to learn. Yet, there’s also a lot of seasoned professionals out there with knowledge and experience to share – so why is it tricky to recruit them?

As one of those seasoned pros with 15 years of internal comms experience under my belt, I was reluctant to become a mentor fearing it would take up too much time in an already busy calendar. I kept putting it off until the guilt got to me, and finally I threw my hat in the ring.

I was paired with Ciara Lihou, Internal Communications Manager at Guernsey Post and quickly found my fears were misplaced. Not only was it not a big time commitment on my part but it was a hugely rewarding experience for both of us.

Mentoring in practice

As a team of one, Ciara was keen to have someone she could bounce ideas around with and sense check her thinking.

We agreed to speak for 30 minutes every month. It was always scheduled in advance and Ciara was brilliant at emailing an agenda beforehand detailing what she wanted to discuss. We covered a range of topics including employee surveys and how to share qualitative data, channels, and communicating with remote workers.

Sometimes I would email Ciara useful links and resources after the call, but it took no more than 15 minutes of my time.

What did I get out of it?

Mentoring often focuses on the experience of the mentee but there is plenty of benefit for the mentor too.

As a consultant, I work collaboratively with my clients but ultimately, I’m often there to provide a solution. With mentoring, it’s not just about sharing insight and stating the solution. It’s about having a conversation where we came to the answer together, giving Ciara a chance to input rather than just listen to what I said was right. It was great for me to flex this skill and it was satisfying to see the impact it had.

It also exposed me to a different type of organisation to the ones I’m used to working with – one with a large percentage of remote workers, challenging me to apply my knowledge and experience to a different situation.

And of course, it provided a confidence boost (and we all need one now and again!). Being able to support someone and have them tell you it’s made a difference to the work they do is hugely rewarding.

When is the next mentoring cohort I hear you ask

Take a look at the IoIC mentoring page where you’ll find upcoming dates for applications. 

Why not give it a go, I promise you won’t regret it.

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