Throughout my own career I’ve had the benefit of some great mentors and role models who’ve helped me (I’ve been in management positions for  over 30 years – even I find that hard to believe). Those mentors provided me with a fountain of knowledge and contacts as well as sharing their own mistakes and challenges, so I could learn from them. It’s really helped me as I‘ve progressed in my career. It was great they showed their ‘human’ side – and I discovered making mistakes and not knowing everything was fine because you can learn, and you can also develop a fantastic network of experts!

I’ve learned that it’s okay to make mistakes

Since becoming a mentor it’s made me appreciate I’ve still got a lot to learn – I can share an idea/approach to an issue with a mentee but at times I’ve needed to go away and reflect, gain more context or do bit of homework to ensure I’m doing the best I can to provide the right support.The great thing for your mentee is you’re able to stand back from any issue they’re describing. You’re not involved, and you can be impartial in your approach helping them to think about things differently and be prepared to try a different approach.

I’m definitely better at giving out advice and support than I am at doing some of this myself (time management springs to mind!) and there are times when I need to reflect more – so even after all these years I’m still learning. I’ve loved that challenge though and it’s certainly helped me to develop further.

My personal growth as a mentor

Over the time that I’ve been mentoring with HDN I’ve found out a lot about how different types of organisations operate, how they respond to operational issues and what support they offer to their employees. I’ve really enjoyed helping someone recognise their own strengths and discover the next steps to take to help them on their career path. Along the way I’ve added mentees to my own contacts and kept in touch to see how they’ve progressed many becoming mentors themselves. It’s so rewarding.

Eileen Martin

Director of Housing Services at Optivo

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