The Australian Water Association’s Queensland Young Water Professionals (YWPs) have been running a mentoring program for several years now. The 2019 program officially concluded in November with a panel discussion at GHD, the event sponsor.
At the closing event, attendees heard from two mentoring pairs: Mark Pascoe (mentor) and Amie Aldred (mentee) and Aidan Symons (mentor) and Hugo Salmon (mentee), who reflected on their experiences in the mentoring program and key takeaways.
A key theme that came up was that, while every mentoring relationship is different, mentoring is not a one-way street and good communication between mentors and mentees can bring new perspectives and insights at all stages of your career.
Good communication is the foundation of any relationship, and mentoring is no different. An important mentoring skill that mentees continue to look for, and one that mentors continue to work on throughout their career, is active listening.
Through active listening and asking, the mentoring pairs were able to establish trust and respect for each other, thereby creating a two-way exchange where ideas and insights could be shared both ways.
From the mentees’ perspective, being able to communicate their goals, interests and concerns to their mentors brought up new insights and opportunities that were not clear before. From the mentors’ perspective, having discussions with enthusiastic mentees provided them with an opportunity to reflect and helped keep them fresh.
Finding a good mentoring partner on one’s own can be challenging. The Queensland YWPs continue to look for improvement in their mentor-mentee matching process.
In 2019, in addition to matching mentors and mentees based on questionnaires, the team added a personal touch by hosting a ‘speed networking’ session at the start of the program, so mentees could get a taste of how they would interact with the mentors on a personal level prior to nominating their mentors.
The 2019 program fostered 33 different mentoring relationships. The Queensland YWPs look forward to hosting the 2020 mentoring program, which will be launched in May!
Charlene Wong is a YWP from Engeny Water Management.