My Mentoring Experience: Iain Valentine
The mentoring experience through the Marketing Society has been both enjoyable and enlightening, provided valuable learning for myself and hopefully Hannah, my mentee. I have been really fortunate I think to be matched with an individual who wants to learn, strives to be better and has ambition.
Having a successful mentoring relationship requires the fit to be right, and that’s not just about skills and experience, I think it’s about attitude and motivation. To be a good Mentor - you really need to be able to listen. To be a good mentee you really the desire to learn. The mentor needs to commit the time and the mentee needs to be proactive enough to initiate the meetings. Both parties need to see the benefit of the relationship, I’m not sure that every match will be as successful as ours, but my feeling is that the contact that Hannah and I have had, has really made a difference and will continue to do so long into the future.
So along this journey, here are the top 3 things I have learned about my experience as a mentor for the Marketing Society:
You have more to offer than you think
Perhaps an interesting one to start with, but when being asked to be a mentor, the first thing that went through my mind was ‘what can I offer?’ especially when your mentee might not be in the same specialism or role as you have been in. We all have a touch of the imposter syndrome, well most of us! The fear that someone will find you out or tap you on the shoulder and go ‘do you know what you’re doing?’. The interesting thing about giving some of your time over to mentor someone, is that you find you do have valuable skills and advice that you take for granted and you can offer a whole lot more than you thought.
Spending a few hours entirely focused on someone and something else is quite rewarding and exciting. Insights into different areas of our industry, understanding different challenges and learning about the highs and lows of someone else’s path is a privilege. It’s exciting to try and help someone look for different approaches, navigate in a different direction and see things from a different perspective. I have learned so much from my Mentee, and it has been great to share some of that excitement of the journey she’s been on.
You will become better
By becoming mentor, you are making yourself better. Being truly present is not easy, understanding your mentee is critical, and often the biggest help is just to listen, to be a sounding board and to reflect back what you heard. I think the process of being a mentor has helped me be a better coach for my team and reminded me of the importance powerful listening, being curious and questioning things and providing objective feedback.
Overall, I have really enjoyed the experience of being a mentor, it’s nice to feel that you can help someone on a path to fulfil their goals, hopes and ambitions. It does need to be driven by them, and it takes time and commitment to ensure you have the focus on them when you meet, but it is tremendously rewarding to see the successes they continue to have and I’m sure Hannah knows that she can reach out and contact me at any point for advice and support.