Associate member Alice Gibbs shares her experience of using the CIWM Mentoring platform to begin her journey as a mentee.
The sign-up process
I found out about the mentoring scheme through emails from CIWM that I received as part of my professional membership. I also attended the introductory webinar which went through the aims of the mentoring platform as well as the sign-up process.
To sign up, it was as simple as creating a profile on the CIWM Mentoring platform where I filled in some information about my background and job role, the areas I’d like help with and a personal statement that set out why I would like to be mentored. It took about half an hour in total and most of the questions involved selecting from an existing list, so it was easy to complete.
My personal statement – why I would like to be mentored
“I enjoy the variety of projects I work on in my role and I’d like to continue learning new skills and to find out how to get experience in my topics of interest if I’m not able to within my current role. I am in the very early stages of my career and I would really appreciate some guidance to help me focus on the technical and transferable skills I’d need to improve in order to progress. I’d also like support in becoming Chartered next year.”
Selecting my mentor
Once I had saved my profile, the next step was to find a mentor. The CIWM platform provides you with matches based on the topics you selected as wanting help with. It is then up to you to have a look at the mentors’ experience and personal statements to find the one (or more – there’s no limit other than your own free time) that you think would be the best fit.
I had a look through the matching mentors and found one who was offering support similar to that I had asked for and who also had experience within the sector that I work in. Through the platform, I sent a request for her to be my mentor and she accepted!
The process so far
Once the relationship had been established through the mentoring platform, we communicated via email to set up our first videocall meeting. Throughout the process, I have received a few (but not so many as to be annoying) emails from the platform reminding me of the next step in the process. These have been useful reminders as we can often put off furthering our personal development, especially when work is particularly busy.
The first mentoring call was about getting to know each other and me setting out what I hoped to gain from this relationship. After the first call, I set up a workbook to help structure our subsequent conversations, with different tabs for different topics. From this workbook we’ve identified some goals to work towards, short and long term.
The mentoring platform has some really useful tools to help with goal setting too, including a tool for helping to ensure the goals you set are SMART, which means you have a more robust process to follow to meet them.
I have (virtually) met with my mentor approximately every two weeks to discuss my goals (and anything else relevant that crops up in the meantime), but my mentor has also been available for quick phone calls or emails if I have had any more time sensitive questions for her.
The benefits of mentoring
It has been really useful to have a mentor from outside my work environment who can offer an independent view but who still understands the work I do and has experience and contacts that could help me achieve my goals.
It is worth noting that you can have multiple mentors, each with a different focus, if that approach would work for you. For example, you could have one mentor who helps you with your Chartership application, while another might have the contacts to help you meet a goal of changing careers. The first relationship would formally end once you have achieved Chartership, whereas the second might be more of a long-term mentoring relationship.
The mentoring platform is really simple to use and I think it is a great member benefit. I would recommend it to all members, whether you’ve been working for one year or twenty – we all have things we’d like to achieve and a mentor can be a huge help. It has also made me want to get involved in more CIWM events and to get to know more members through the online socials and webinars that have been put on throughout this year.
Questions about CIWM Mentoring?
If you have any questions about the process, you are welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can get in touch with the CIWM Mentoring team by email at email@example.com or by calling 01604 620426.