What benefit does the mentor get from mentoring?

leadership mentoring wellbeing Sep 28, 2023

Outside of work I love to swim in the ocean and for the last 3 years I have mentored and supported others through Can Too Foundation in learning to build their confidence in the ocean and to swim in two events as well as fundraise for cancer research.

The swim is known as The Big Swim - 2.7km from Palm Beach to Whale Beach in Sydney. This in fact is a long way for people doing it for the first time and actually it is also big for veteran swimmers, because you are out in the ocean which you can feel a little vulnerable to what is lurking below. 🦈

The two wonderful people I swam with in 2023 -  Alison Hey and Liz McLellan were keen to have me swim with them going at their pace. This is what a mentor does, asks what the mentee wants, what role they want you to play and walks beside them (in this case swim beside).

I had plenty of time in the water reflecting on what makes a great mentor as I was doing it! (Yes strange where your mind goes when you have plenty of time to reflect).

Here are my reflections:

🏊‍♀️ Ask the mentee how they want to be supported - they said swim on their right side so they could see me and help them navigate the waves entering and finishing the race.

🏊‍♀️ Breakdown into small steps how they will achieve this goal. In this case we focused only on the next buoy - there were 8 in total. And we agreed to stop at each buoy to have a 30 second breather.

🏊‍♀️ Gently encourage them along the way to how well they were doing.

Simple actually! But what was not there was me downloading all my wisdom and telling them what to do which often happens when people are new to mentoring. I did point out what land mark to focus on in sighting the next buoy. But that is all.

Overall I used what they already knew - their resourcefulness from all the training they had already done.

They both finished the race and their smiles said it all. A big achievement and I was so thrilled for both of them.

As a mentor we get so much joy watching our mentees succeed. Well done ladies! 👏👏

The other part to this wonderful program is fundraising for Cancer Research. Did you know 150,000 people are diagnosed with some form of cancer every year in Australia. We raised $400k across the whole program. This helps to fund four early career researchers that help to find a cure for all cancers. I am so pleased to be involved in giving back in this way.

 Who might you mentor to help them shine?

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