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Mentoring Connections Newsletter
July 2005

In this issue

Opportunity to Hear Leading USA Mentoring Expert !
A one off mentoring event for the Mentoring Connections Network - leading U.S.A. Mentoring guru visits Australia!

Dr. Linda Phillips-Jones is one of the foremost mentoring experts in the United States. Her accessible, thoroughly researched and well designed resources are a great addition to any mentoring program and her writing on the subject is always useful and practical. The Growth Connection has had a longstanding relationship with Linda and her successful products and we are delighted to be able to schedule a Mentoring Connections meeting with Linda as our special guest speaker during her trip to Australia in September.
This is an evening not to be missed!

If you are interested in hearing what Linda has to say about mentoring, please reply to this email as soon as possible so that we can gauge the interest level and confirm the evening. She is in Sydney for the evenings of 26 and 27 September. Please indicate the best date for you.

This opportunity for Mentoring practitioners continues our learning services to the mentoring community.

Mentoring Connections Meeting Report
Our latest Mentoring Connections Meeting was held in The Growth Connection offices on Wednesday, 13th April. Weir Warman Human Resources Manager Cameron Bott, and two current participants in the Weir Warman mentoring program were guest speakers. Cameron described the mentoring program and explained the environment: Weir Warman is in the minerals/engineering industry and is a world leader in pump technology with 350 personnel in its Sydney location and offices globally.

He outlined the history of the mentoring program, why mentoring was implemented and the results and learnings from the two successful programs so far. Ewan O'Leary and Jenny Simpson followed Cameron's insightful introduction with their stories as mentor and mentoree respectively.

Ewan manages a distance relationship with his mentoree which spans the continent - he is in Sydney and his mentoree is in WA. He spoke about the challenges of distance mentoring and emphasised the importance of staying with assigned meeting times, having the chance to meet face to face and being clear about expectations.

Jenny is the first female in the program and has found it to be enormously beneficial. Her mentor encouraged her in developing both workplace and learning skills and was willing to take the time to answer her questions and find added information to support her development.

Those who attended the network meeting enjoyed the entertaining presentations by the speakers, their warmth, candour and willingness to share their experiences. Thank you again to our speakers for your time.

** The Weir Warman case study will appear in the next "how to" mentoring publication from Professor David Clutterbuck and Dave Megginson, U.K. authors of "Mentoring Executives and Directors, "Everyone Needs a Mentor" and many more real life based mentoring books. ** Hot Topics

How to find a mentor
Mentoring remains a favourite workforce strategy for a very good reason - it works. We have featured a number of articles on mentoring programs within organisations and targeted groups (such as youth) but what about the individual? If you want to find a mentor for yourself, it is possible to do so without the aid of a formal program. Some of the key steps to find the right mentor are:

1.   Decide what you want help with
Mentoring relationships work well with clear goals. It is not enough that you think it will help you in your career how will it help you? In what area? Being explicit about this will assist you in finding the right people to ask.

2.   Where should you search?
Where would you be likely to find the support you need for your goals? It could be within your organisation or outside, through industry and professional networks, events and conferences, or through universities, Professional Associations and other learning organisations.

If it is within your organisation, are you choosing someone for their technical expertise, management skills or knowledge of the organisation? Do choose somebody out of your direct reporting line so that the relationship remains unbiased by day-to-day concerns. If age or gender are specific criteria for you in who you may wish to approach, use these to filter your options.

3.   Role models and top performers
Feel confident in including and approaching experts in your search for a mentor. Most people could nominate others that have helped them in their climb to the top of their field, and may be more than willing to do the same for you. You will never know if you don't ask - and at the very least, they will now know you, your enthusiasm and your commitment to professional development.

4.   Select the mentor(s)
When you have found a person/people you believe would suit you, spend some time watching what they do and how they interact with people to see if you can gauge their personal style and how it fits with how you work. You may also wish to try to work alongside them, if it is their technical expertise that you are particularly interested in, either by volunteering to assist with projects or on committees or by asking them directly if there is anything you can do to assist them.

Ask other people's opinions to gain other insights before you approach them about mentoring you, and if you are considering more than one person prioritise your list.

5.   Approach the selected mentor
A personal face to face courteous request is always the preferred option. You can phone or email your potential mentor to make an appointment to see them, explaining why you would like to meet and how much time you would like. This shows that you respect their time and take the responsibilities of a potential mentoring relationship seriously.

Suggest an informal meeting at a convenient coffee shop or similar, outside of the workplace to start things off.

6.   Have an agenda for the first meeting
The agenda can include why you would like them to mentor you, how long it is for and what you are hoping to get out of the relationship. This lets them make a realistic decision based on their availability and your needs. If they do agree to mentor you, you can also see what you may have to offer them.

Remember in your search that "mentoring does not necessarily come from just senior managers or executives, nor does one mentor have all the answers" (Kaye, 2001, p.56). Be open to finding a mentor that may be different to your initial expectations but who may be exactly what you need.

Kaye, B. (2001) "Calling all mentors" in Career Planning and Adult Development Journal, 17 (1), pp. 57-62.
James, N. (2002) "Tips on How to Find a Mentor" on www.neenjames.com. Neen is a global productivity expert who has recently relocated from Sydney to Pennsylvania, USA.
Smiley, J (2001) "Find a mentor to give your new career a boost" on www searchsap.com. John is adjunct professor of Computer Science at Penn State University, Philadelphia University and Holy Family College.

How do you best match mentors and mentorees?
by Imogen Wareing

The quick answer to this question is that mentors and mentorees are best matched when they choose each other. However, some support from the formal program structure is necessary to enable it to be an informed and appropriate choice.

Experience and research continues to emphasise the importance of individual choice is as many aspects of a formal program as possible. Part of this is the choice of whether to be a mentor or a mentoree within the program.

Voluntary participation in the program can be, and often is, accompanied by encouraging some individuals who may have specific required skills to be mentors or those who can especially benefit (such as members of disadvantaged groups) to be mentorees. This does not detract from the voluntary nature of their participation.

Having established empowerment and choice as a key feature of the mentor program, the sequence of activities will be something like this:-

Clear program objectives

Development of criteria to let people know
what sort of mentors are required

Open invitation across the organisation / Professional Association
(and externally if appropriate) for volunteer mentors

Call for mentorees and provide guidelines to assist their
definition of what they need a mentor for

Select mentors if too many volunteer

Biodata provided to Program Coordinator from
mentors and mentorees e.g. qualifications, summary of
work history, key skills required/offered, why they want to be in the program, personal interests

Joint mentors/mentorees training day and or get together (as well as separate mentor skills development day). This is not the only way to bring them together,
but combined with a social event at the end of the training
day is an effective vehicle for networking with each other face to face

Mentorees contact one or more potential mentors over
the following week or so and a meeting time is agreed
Mentorees nominate 3 potential mentors, Program Coordinators sorts
choices so all have a mentor they selected and no mentor is overloaded

Decision is made after first meeting on whether to
proceed with mentor relationship or not

Sites to Visit
Website for the U.K. National Mentoring Network, now known as the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation.
The Mentoring and Befriending Foundation (MBF) is the national strategic body in the U.K. for mentoring and befriending, offering training support to practitioners and organisations throughout the sector. A key focus of their work is peer mentoring in schools.
The MBF provides additional support through a range of resources, an interactive website with information on current research and publications and through networking and training events. It works in partnership with other voluntary sector infrastructure bodies and has a particular evolving relationship with Volunteering England.

Formerly known as the European Mentoring Centre, the Council promotes mentoring in business, education and the community at large. It brings together practitioners, researchers and institutions internationally to explore and foster best practice. Their website includes a definition of mentoring, a list of benefits, a library and bibliography of resources and publications, an opportunity to join online conferences and become a member of the organization.

http://www.mentors.net/ An affiliate of the American Society for Curriculum and Development (ASCD), this organization promotes the mentoring and induction of new teachers by supporting mentors and mentoring programs in K-12 schools and in university teacher education programs. Provides many ideas and papers about mentoring teachers.
Do you have a favourite mentoring website? Let us know and we will review and include it in a future edition.

Upcoming Events Around the World

1. Australia
National Mentoring in Healthcare Conference: 21-23 September 2005 in Canberra, ACT
This is the first Mentoring in Healthcare conference and it is examining the growing use of mentoring as a development initiative within the sector. The theme of the conference is "sharing the wisdom - infusing mentoring as a healthcare initiative."

Second Australian Conference on Evidence Based Coaching - "From Practice to Theory - Cross Disciplinary Perspectives". 8-9 October in Sydney, NSW (Coaching Psychology Unit, University of Sydney)
The aim of the conference is to link current coaching practice to established theory, and in this way further the development of the theory and principles of evidence based coaching.

2. Europe

Advance notice European Mentoring and Coaching Conference: December 1-2, 2005 in Zurich, Switzerland.
For more information email: d.f.megginson [at] shu.ac.uk

3. United States

Advance notice 19th Annual IMA's (International Mentoring Association) Mentoring Conference, 15-18 March, 2006 in Chicago, Illinois, USA
The 2006 Chicago conference will focus on the theme "Mentoring Tools for Development of Individuals and Organisations"

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