What is Mentoring
The Benefits of Becoming a Mentor
The Benefits of Becoming a Mentee
Tips for Mentors
Tips for Mentees
Join the Scheme
One of the most important, but frequently overlooked, aspects of managing your long-term career is maintaining a network of contacts throughout (and outside) the actuarial industry.
Amongst other things, these contacts can provide:
However, despite the benefits of such networks, it is not always easy to develop contacts outside your current circle of colleagues and friends. It is for this reason that we have set up an Actuarial Mentoring Scheme.
- Information about other companies and other fields of actuarial work;
- Alternative and unbiased perspectives on work and private issues;
- Answers to technical queries outside your normal field of work;
- Access to their own network of contacts;
- An additional source of social opportunities.
The scheme works by matching up suitable mentors and mentees and putting them in touch with each other. The mentor and mentee can then decide how they would like their relationship to work. One suggestion might be to arrange regular (e.g. 6-monthly) chats which could either be face-to-face or over the phone.
The aims of the scheme are three-fold:
If you would like to consider becoming either a mentor or a mentee, then we suggest that you complete a Mentoring Application Form. Alternatively, if you'd like more information on the scheme, contact us directly by e-mail or phone.
- To encourage actuaries from different backgrounds to share their experiences;
- To promote actuarial self development;
- To enhance the actuarial profession by encouraging greater levels of interaction and debate.
There is no reason why people should not become both mentors and mentees and, time permitting, take on more than one mentee.
The following sections explain a little bit more about the process of mentoring and the rewards it can bring.
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What is Mentoring?
Mentoring, from the Greek word meaning enduring, is the process in which successful individuals go out of their way to help others establish goals and develop the skills to reach them.
There are two forms of mentoring: natural mentoring, which occurs through friendship, teaching, coaching, and counseling and planned mentoring, which takes place through structured programs (like this one) in which mentors and participants are selected and matched through formal processes.
Mentoring programs generally serve the following broad purposes:
- Academic mentoring helps people improve their overall academic achievement;
- Career mentoring helps people develop the necessary skills to enter or progress along a career path;
- Personal development mentoring supports people during times of personal or social stress and provides guidance for decision making.
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Why Should I Become a Mentor?
Becoming a mentor brings significant rewards. It is an excellent way of acquiring and developing personal skills, increasing your self confidence and widening your perspectives. It opens up new business and social opportunities, is very rewarding, and will add to your marketability when you apply for new roles.
However, as the pressures of our working lives increase, we all tend to place a greater premium on our spare time, making it harder to justify this type of activity.
So if you are considering mentoring, but are unsure if it would be a worthwhile use of your time, here are some of the most important reasons for investing your time to help a mentee.
1. You'll learn. By serving as a mentor, you'll learn from your mentees. They will have knowledge you don't have, maybe teach you a new job-specific skill, and help you enhance your people-development skills, which you can then use with your own colleagues, employees and even your family and friends. And in the process, you'll also learn more about yourself.
2. This is a chance to pay back. In the past, you may have received good mentoring from someone and never had a chance to show your gratitude to him or her directly. You now have an opportunity to reciprocate and "put something back into the pot."
3. You could receive recognition from peers and superiors. Being an effective people developer won't go unrecognized. In fact, if you're in management, you'll be officially or unofficially rated on your ability to recognize and groom talent. If you're in a formal mentoring program, it's likely you'll be recognized for your contribution.
4. You may get some extra work done! Your mentees may be able to introduce you to new ways of working and give you access to a fresh pool of knowledge, ideas and working practices.
5. You'll review and validate what you know and what you've accomplished. Teaching another helps you review and reframe all you've learned about that subject. You'll realise that you've accomplished much more than you thought.
6. Mentoring could have future personal payoffs. When mentees are successful, they often reward their mentors. Even if this isn't your reason for helping, you could receive grateful thanks, notoriety, jobs, invitations, and other future opportunities to contribute and celebrate.
7. Finally, you'll probably feel satisfied and proud of your contribution to another’s success. When you have a positive effect on your mentees, expect several positive feelings of pride, satisfaction, happiness, contentment, and excitement along with the enjoyable physiological reactions that go with them.
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Why Should I Become a Mentee?
Mentees can receive enormous benefits from their mentors:
- The ability to learn from someone more experienced, who has 'been there and done that'
- A chance to discuss career, and possibly personal issues
- Someone to watch out for you and to facilitate your career development and progression
- The chance to make a new acquaintance, and in time, possibly a friend
- Access to a new group of people
- The opportunity to learn about mentoring, and hopefully in time become a mentor, creating a virtuous circle
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Tips for Mentors
How can you make your mentoring experience worthwhile for both you and your mentee? Here are some ideas.
1. Listen carefully to what the person wants or needs.
Try first to understand, rather than feeling that you must give immediate advice or a solution to what you believe the problem is. Just listen, especially to what isn't said aloud. Ask non-threatening questions that don't begin with "why."
Try to paraphrase what you're hearing. "It seems you'd like to make an impact in the meeting and you're not sure you can. That's a challenge." Wait to give advice until you're asked for it.
2. Provide some useful assistance.
Let the mentee guide you as to the right balance between listening and advising. Once you've listened well and talked about the issue for a while, ask if you can recommend a possible solution, a book, someone to call.
Should you give the help you believe the person needs or give what he or she wants, even if you fear it's off base? Err in the direction of supporting the mentee's wishes and encouraging wise risk-taking. If you see a major red flag or feel dishonest about holding back your reservations, ask if you can give your frank opinion.
Good mentoring calls for integrity. Follow your cautions with suggestions on how possibly to overcome those obstacles.
3. Give at least one sincere compliment.
You can always find something to praise: the way the person listens to you non-defensively, how he or she speaks with conviction, his or her willingness to take a risk, what he or she was able to accomplish recently.
Say it boldly without reservation. Don't be false, but take the risk of naming the positive you see.
4. Make an emotional connection with the person.
Give your full attention to your mentee - make eye contact and hold it for several seconds at a time. Appear relaxed and not rushed. Divert your phone calls.
Let your own feelings show. If you're pleased at what you hear, smile or laugh out loud. If you're hearing something sad, let yourself feel the sadness, and show it in your face and voice. Tell the person you're feeling pleased, impressed, excited for him/her, sad. For these minutes, this is the most important person in the world.
5. End on a personal note.
Say how much you enjoyed your discussion and what it has meant to you. You don't have to mention getting together again unless you feel inclined to do so.
Of course, you should adapt these ideas to your own personal style, and don’t be afraid to try out your mentoring techniques on other people such as your direct reports, your friends, family etc.
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Tips for Mentees
It would be wrong to view your role as passive in the mentoring relationship. You should never be afraid to take the initiative and to manage your mentoring relationship:
- Create a development plan and use it as a basis for your discussions with your mentor;
- Propose goals, suggest learning activities, ask for specific help, and invite feedback from your mentor;
- Analyse your own relationship style (i.e. assertive, aggressive, shy, hesitant, etc.) and that of your mentor. Adopt a proactive style to fit the situation and your respective personalities (e.g. you may want to use a slightly more passive style if your mentor has a strong, directive style)
- Ensure that you give your mentor regular feedback on your sessions, particularly if you feel you are not getting sufficient benefit out of the relationship.
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