Mentoring can help you learn from the mistakes you and others have made, and stop you wallowing in worry, writes by Samantha Bowen.

What happens when you are adamant you have crashed your career? When you are convinced your vocation is vaporised and your mind is in freefall, where can you go?

I remember being rattled a few years ago. I’d made a mistake in a previous role. In the moment, it seemed large and career-ending. At the time, I felt like I would never recover and my confidence was shattered.

I quickly discovered I had the tools, strategies and people who believed in me. In fact, I had everything I needed to rebuild my conviction and set myself up for success.

Re-discovering my confidence and creating space to reflect – instead of wallowing in worry – happened because I reached out to a mentor. We talked about the situation and she listened to my experience and helped me see that this was but one moment in time.

Samantha Bowen

Now upon reflection, I know it wasn’t as bad as it appeared. The truth is, it was a mild bump that opened my eyes to new ways of supporting and relating to others.

Since then, I’ve mentored many emerging industry leaders. Helping them learn from my own mistakes (without going through it themselves) and celebrating their amazing achievements. Being a mentor has been eye-opening.

It has helped me reflect on my own leadership skills – making me realise there are strategies I can implement and share to help ensure we are maintaining mental health and sustaining professional resilience.

Mentoring allows me to listen actively to the challenges people are experiencing and assist others in finding the support they require, not just what I think they need.

It also keeps you up at night.

It’s knowing that your workers and leaders need more avenues for support to help them understand their leadership and career ambitions, while ensuring they have actionable strategies to achieve them.

When you started your career, it is likely you had a mentor of some kind, someone who understood you and your potential.

In today’s dynamic and testing environment, our current and emerging leaders know there is not enough time in the day to achieve their workplace tasks, focus on the future strategy of their organisation, increase their industry knowledge and also network to find someone that they click with.

Too often, they put aside their focus on building their careers to ensure they are supporting their teams to excel. You may have felt this yourself.

Executives are often tasked with exposing talented staff to the requirements, demands and skills needed for upper management roles, especially in rapidly changing environments.

Their teams can feel overwhelmed, as they may be working excessive hours and feeling like they cannot fit anything more into their days.

But it is critical to take time to reflect and share our experiences, when it becomes clear that priorities can be reassessed, problems can be shared and there are moments to celebrate with others.

You likely want to be involved in mentoring, but there is limited time and you’re not sure you have access to a network of current or emerging leaders.

Imagine providing this opportunity to another leader in our industry.

Are you ready to support better leadership practices and open up your experiences to help others excel, by being a mentor?

If so, you can cultivate a great mentoring culture around you, by:

  1. Reaching out to a young leader outside your organisation for a virtual coffee catch up. Use LinkedIn or your own network to listen to the challenges facing those in our emerging leadership roles because often they are unsure about asking these questions and they understand how busy CEOs and executive leaders are.
  2. Listen to their challenges and experiences. Invite them to share their experiences by being vulnerable about your own. Create a safe space to share and lead by example.
  3. By listening to their experiences you can understand how you can assist them by providing your own insights, sharing resources, or opening up your network to someone who may be a better fit for their issues.
  4. Join a mentoring program that provides structure and support for you to access motivated individuals who are seeking mentors and are supported to drive these mentoring partnerships. This helps guarantee a positive experience for both mentor and mentee.

With only three weeks left to register your current and emerging leaders for the second wave of LASA’s Mentoring Program, it’s time to think about who in your organisation might benefit most from being mentored by a leader in the age services industry.

Reach out today to find out more about mentoring and how this program can support your organisation’s current and emerging leaders. Contact mentoring@lasa.asn.au

Samantha Bowen is LASA’s Next Gen Principal Adviser

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