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A bit like speed dating, mentors & mentees rotated to meet each other in a series of rapid-fire conversations. Every 5 minutes a bell rang and everyone moved along, meeting up to 12 potential matches in an hour. 60 people took part in the activity and we’ve matched dozens of mentors & mentees from the night. The activity was such a success that we’ll be bringing it back for future events.
Those who weren’t interested in becoming a mentor or mentee were also welcome at the Christmas party. We invited them to simply enjoy the live music, drinks and great company.
Men and women came to the party, some alone, some as part of a group. Women in Health and Safety is a network which supports gender equality and wants to see women flourish in our profession. We’re inclusive and recognise that everyone, no matter what their gender, can help us achieve this.
Mentoring scheme explained
For those interested in taking part in the mentoring programme at a future Women in Health and Safety event, here’s an overview of how it works. By and large it’s very similar to speed dating.
The aim is to introduce mentors to 12 potential mentors in a series face-to-face rapid-fire conversations.
Our definition of mentoring is: ‘a professional relationship in which an experienced person (the mentor) assists another (the mentee) in developing specific skills and knowledge that will enhance the mentee’s career and personal growth’. Mentoring is not coaching, so it may on occasion be within the mentees’ best interests that mentors challenge them.
Conversations should be confidential and the agenda driven by the mentee. The mentee should take responsibility for organising the sessions – we suggest that the mentor sets out their availability front and agrees whether face-to-face, calls or skype will work best. We do suggest some face-to-face meeting if at all possible.
The mentor’s role
Active listening, focused on the mentee
Taking appropriate approaches such as robustly challenging a mentee who is not sufficiently focussed or encouraging the mentee to take ownership of a situation
Helping the mentee to see the bigger picture and focus on the longer term
Taking an interest in the mentee’s progress
Managing the time and structure of the session
The mentee’s role
Ensuring the sessions take place
In control of the agenda, taking responsibility for his or her development, rather than expecting ‘quick fixes’ from a mentor
Prepared to be challenged when the mentor feels that this, rather than perhaps sympathy, will be of benefit
Professional in the relationship with the mentor, for example being punctual, respecting agreed ground rules, and talking openly and honestly with the mentor
Before you come to a speed mentoring activity, please think about the following (because this is what you will be questioning each other about!):
What do you want from the mentoring relationship – be really specific (For example – someone to challenge you, or someone to help plan long term goals with, someone to develop your confidence with you)
What are your career or life goals?
How much time are you prepared to put to the relationship?
What kind of mentee do you think you would most benefit ? (For example – Someone at the beginning of their career/in the middle? Someone who needs confidence building or someone already highly confident?)
How much time, through what medium and where are you prepared to meet (for example coffee once a quarter in London, skype or calls monthly)
Are you prepared to take on more than one?
Snapshots from the 2016 Women in Health and Safety Christmas Party
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