Canadian Association for Supported Employment

Chantelle Painter on Being a Mentor, a Mentee and a Mentoring Facilitator

Chantelle Painter, a consultant and business and relationship development professional, shares her experiences as a mentee, a mentor, and a mentoring facilitator and offers some tips.

I have had the privilege of being a mentor, a mentee, and a facilitator of mentoring relationships. A new set of rewards unfolded from each experience, and now, I feel I have a better sense of appreciation for the benefits of mentorship in organizations and the true impacts experienced by everyone involved.

Identify the Knowledge Holders

In my time creating mentorship matching, it was essential for me to know the team members who were engaging. I had to learn what information was needed by those seeking to be mentored. 

Then, I would find the person with the high-level knowledge of the business context, business acumen, and general organizational knowledge who could identify the staff member holding the required knowledge.  

As you begin to discover who makes up your teams and where their strengths lie, you can leverage that information to create sustainable knowledge foundations and expand them as needed.

Tips for the Mentoring Facilitator:
  • Start by understanding the information needed by the mentee. 
  • Then, find the high-level contact at the organization who can identify a key staff member with the right knowledge to share.
Tips for Organizations:
  • Identify one or more people who can navigate your organization’s personnel knowledge matrix.
  • This knowledge matrix can also help you to determine where the gaps are and how to plan for succession.

Being Cheered On Drives You to Action

I’ve been mentored by some of the smartest people I will ever meet and by some of the youngest, most promising talent industry will ever see. Each time, I had the privilege to learn from someone who had the knowledge that I lacked or who was able to shine a light on my blind spots.  

Whether I sought long or short-term mentorships, I was always able to establish a trusted allyship and to receive guidance I would not have received if I had not sought it out.

The ability to see outside yourself is invaluable. Mentorship gives us the opportunity to grow personally and professionally while targeting that growth to make it more effective. 

I have never felt so driven as when I knew someone was cheering me on, supporting my journey, genuinely wanting to see me succeed, AND willing to share a part of themselves to see that happen.

Tips for Organizations:
  • Encourage leadership and staff to seek mentorships, both internally and externally.
  • Plan mentorships that target specific areas of growth.

Open Yourself to Learning

As someone who has been asked to offer guidance, to listen, to advise, and to counsel, I can honestly say that I’ve received as much knowledge, if not more, than I’ve imparted. By engaging in a sharing of knowledge, you are given the opportunity to support another individual while they quietly teach you more about yourself.  

In mentoring others, I have become a better leader, a better recruiter, and a better human being capable of more empathy than I ever thought possible. You learn so much more about yourself in leading and guiding others than in the formal actions of most managerial tasks. 

My ability to communicate flexibly and clearly has improved by communicating with others who have vastly different or eerily similar experiences to my own, always taking a piece of their journey with me as we part ways.

Tips for Organizations:
  • Even when everyone is busy, make time for mentorship. Mentorship builds organizational capacity and workplace culture, which are essential to professional and organizational resilience and growth.
Tips for Mentors:
  • Mentorship is a two-way street. Open yourself to receiving as well as to sharing knowledge.
  • Spend time actively listening.
  • Enjoy this time spent with another person who shares one of your interests!

No matter how your own mentorship journey plays out, there is always a reward for everyone involved. Improved human connections strengthen organizations and improve individual performance and well-being. 

Mentorship can be the cornerstone of any organization’s effort to increase engagement, improve culture, and provide a strong foundation of trust.