There’s no downside to mentoring

There’s no downside to mentoring

When consultant Peggy McGillicuddy, was finishing grad school, she wanted to branch out her work experience beyond mental health, a field she’s worked in for 15 years.

“I’ve done it my entire life and I’m a bit depleted from it,” McGillicuddy says. Through The Institute for Performance and Learning, she signed up for a mentoring program in hopes of finding someone who worked in a completely different setting.

“You get to choose,” she says. “I was looking for someone who had a lot of experience.” MentorCity connected her with Elaine La Chappelle, Assistant Director, Leadership Development at the Ontario Real Estate Association.

Elaine and Peggy 3

The program allows you to search for a mentor with specific skills or experience and will help schedule your first meeting. The rest (where you should meet, what you should talk about), is up to you. MentorCity offers ideas to support along the way – like meeting plans, which provide a stronger focus on conversation topics, or mentor activities.

As Debby Carreau writes in Why Mentorship Programs Stop Working, “Simply putting a mentor and mentee together is not a magic bullet in order to make the most of such an arrangement; a certain amount of discipline and commitment also applies. When those elements fail, the relationship between the mentor and the mentee becomes problematic.”

Although McGillicuddy had never had a formal mentor before, “That kind of relationship in the workplace was really valuable to me,” she says. “I sought out help and I would tell anybody, especially those starting out a career, to do that.”

Elaine La Chappelle, Mentor

Elaine La Chappelle, Mentor

The pair met once a month at Williams Fresh Café and quickly hit it off. Her mentor, La Chappelle, is an educator and believes “you’re always sharing with people and learning from them. Mentoring just fits perfectly,” she says.

Their conversations were structured around their struggles at work and career journey; McGillicuddy recalls the most helpful thing her mentor ever did was coaching her and pointing out the transferability of her skills, when she wasn’t realizing it. “She coached me on how to put my resume together, what to highlight, etc.,” she says.

Mentor La Chappelle says, “You’re not there just to give advice – it’s about the conversation and dialogue, sharing ideas and possibilities, what ifs.”

 

So when her workplace was looking for a facilitator, La Chappelle offered the gig to her mentee. “Peggy had everything I would have needed,” she says confidently. “I knew her, I thought, why not add to her resume and show that she can work outside of her field?”

The pair kept meeting together once the formal mentorship program ended. “People should do it. There’s no downside, even if you don’t get what you think you’re going to get out of it, you get something.” For La Chappelle, she got a new friend.

“I think we play both roles (mentee and mentor) right until we die. We might as well embrace both of them,” La Chappelle says.

She’s already signed up for round two.

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This is an exclusive member benefit. Track your hours the MentorCity system – they contribute to Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for maintaining the CTP/CTDP designation.

Spots fill up quickly! Apply before September 28 (email darlene@performanceandlearning.ca) to participate in the next mentoring round.

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