"You could not have found a more perfect mentor for me!"
When Dinah was first offered the opportunity to participate in the WIG mentorship programme, which partners individuals with a carefully chosen leader from a different organisation, she was determined to obtain the maximum benefit from it. For her, this meant not merely setting a series of objectives to be achieved, but instead taking a more comprehensive view of her character and how elements of this might impact on her professional development.
Meeting with The Whitehall & Industry Group (WIG) face-to-face allowed Dinah to communicate fully any hopes and thoughts she had about the scheme. From this initial meeting, it was clear that WIG had listened and taken the time to understand her position, resulting in an introduction to Anita.
Although this was only the first potential mentor Dinah met, and she felt under no pressure to say yes, the match seemed exactly right. WIG had a clear understanding of her as an individual and of the type of mentor from whom she would derive most value. Anita was not just an excellent fit in terms of experience but, perhaps more importantly, in terms of personality too. Both had similar backgrounds and a desire to apply a ‘psychodynamic lens’ to issues, meaning that, rather than simply being goal-oriented, their sessions involved digging down to analyse the roots of some of Dinah’s tendencies and exploring how to address these to enable her to further her career. As a result, their meetings often involved powerful and open conversations, with both sides understanding the other and feeling able to be completely honest.
Beyond the degree to which she felt WIG listened to – and recognized what – she wanted, Dinah believes that another key element in the success of the mentoring scheme was its bespoke nature. She realises that people will have different expectations and levels of engagement with the idea and, as such, will want different types of conversations with their mentors. From Dinah’s perspective, this involved approaching each session flexibly, focussing on what she was specifically looking to take from each meeting and allowing it to flow naturally. Being assigned a mentor as closely matched as Anita made this type of relationship possible and consequently has enabled Dinah to gain a huge amount from every session so far.