In this blog, Mike Lachowicz, a Director at Panagaea Consulting Limited, lets us know why he’s been an IEMA mentor for almost two decades, and a member for three.
IEMA created a mentoring programme for its members over 20 years ago, primarily to assist their progression through professional membership qualifications, and to help them pursue broader career aspirations.
I have been a mentor for over 17 years, and it’s been an immensely rewarding experience. I have derived a great deal of support, knowledge, networking and friendship over 30 years as an IEMA member, and I enjoy giving something back.
Although I have had some experience of mentoring within the organisations I have worked for, I have found the occasional mentoring workshops that IEMA have organised to be informative, useful and enjoyable in providing greater insight and tips about the mentoring process.
IEMA provides a helpful structure for developing the relationship with a mentee, so that both parties are aware of their obligations and limitations. I try to contact the mentee soon after receiving their information to suggest an online or in-person meeting to find out more about what they want from the process, and for them to learn a bit about me. Most mentees want assistance in preparing for the assessment for the next level of professional membership, but occasionally it’s more about their career direction (or sometimes both).
It’s important that at each meeting we agree on clear actions for both the mentee and the mentor. For example, reviewing and commenting on draft membership applications, or preparing for assessment interviews (for full or fellow membership), with an agreed timeline to meet again to track progress. But it could also include suggestions for research, networks, CV updates, training or job applications. IEMA recommend that the mentor/mentee agreement should normally last around six months unless both parties agree to extend it.
The vast majority of members I have mentored have been successful in achieving their aims of reaching the next membership level, new job or career change. However, not all mentees are initially successful so it’s important to keep up their confidence without creating unrealistic expectations of success. Apart from the satisfaction of helping members to attain their goals, I have found being an IEMA mentor a fascinating and useful insight into our changing profession in the UK and overseas, and the impacts this has on younger sustainability professionals.
This is a guest blog written by Mike Lachowicz, for the Green Careers Hub.
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