I’ve had many people who have supported me throughout my career, people who would happily lend an ear and offer advice when I was at a crossroads, had a big decision to make or simply needed a sounding board. In 2012 while completing the Leadership Ballarat & Western Region program, we had the opportunity to work with a Mentor for twelve months. This was my first real mentor and I say “real mentor” as it was a structured relationship, we caught up regularly and I was held accountable. This was when I first realised how valuable having a real mentor is.

It was not what I expected at all. My mentor was tough! He was brutally honest, pushed me completely out of my comfort zone and challenged my thoughts and opinions. I had picked my mentor from a group of Mentor’s at an LBWR speed dating type session and looking back on our year together, I consider myself pretty lucky to have been able to be mentored by him.

I remember walking away from our first session thinking wow how did he manage to get inside my head like that! But it was a good thing.

This year I have been lucky enough to take part in the Commerce Ballarat Mentoring Program. I’m not sure how I was matched with my mentor but it’s been fabulous. I was hesitant at the start but the value I have taken away from each of our catch up’s has been incredible. I’d occasionally go to the meeting thinking this is great I don’t have any problems or dramas this session but by the end of the catch up I’d have a number of to do items to action. Other times I’d go with my long list of problems and by the end of the session, my problems wouldn’t seem like problems and I’d have a clear process for taking action.

Here’s my key reasons why I’ll now always have a mentor:

  • They challenge you to think differently and see things from another perspective – you don’t always like what they make you see but you make decisions differently when armed with greater perspective
  • They hold you accountable – Regular catch ups have driven action and reduced procrastination
  • They create clarity – When you are so absorbed in your own business, career, life and have key decisions to make that seem impossible, to complex and easier to put in the too hard basket, an independent person helps to take out the emotion or help you focus on what the real issue is.
  • They increase your self-awareness – My mentors have been brutally honest with me and that’s what I want from a mentor relationship. Sometimes you need to be given a reality check and from that, I’ve learnt a lot about myself both professionally and personally. I think it has made me a better person
  • They are great listeners – Sometimes I just needed to download or de-brief and it can be hard to find someone who is independent, outside your business or workplace, not a family member or friend who has an emotional connection. Plus they provide great advice!

That’s why I’ll always have a mentor. If you’re thinking about a mentor, my advice is go for it but chose a mentor wisely. I’ve been exceptionally lucky with my mentors and I believe the real value is experienced when you are both open, honest and committed to the relationship.

About The Author
Ange Connor

Ange is the Founder and Director of Inspire HQ, one of regional Victoria’s leading recruitment, human resource (HR) and careers agencies. Ange is an ‘ideas’ person and a ‘big picture’ thinker. She loves to challenge the status quo – in fact, that’s how Inspire HQ began.

Ange has supported hundreds of businesses across Ballarat and regional Victoria to attract, engage, motivate, develop and retain their greatest assets; their people. Ange’s unyielding passion and invaluable knowledge of the recruitment and HR industry ensures she delivers the best solutions for her clients.

Ange has held various board positions and regularly volunteers her time to share her industry and market knowledge. She was recently a Councillor for the Victoria and Tasmania region of the Recruitment Consulting and Staffing Association (RCSA) of Australia and New Zealand, and she is a current Board Director of the Committee for Ballarat.

For more useful information, follow Ange on LinkedIn.

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