What does it mean to be an Ogi mentor?

Wise Words from our People Experience Director

We’re all about mentoring and professional development here at Ogi.

Over the past year, during a global pandemic, we’ve grown from a team of 20 to just over 100 and are now one of the fastest growing tech companies in Wales. So with every new starter we want to make sure that we’re supporting them both personally and professionally.

We pride ourselves on our onboarding; we know that focusing on professional development and mentoring will help our teams thrive. So for International Mentoring Day today, our fantastic People Experience Director, Lisa Hand has given us the low down on what she thinks makes a great Ogi mentor.

Understand their expectations

From the very start, you need to understand what your mentee expects from you. This could be anything from working out how much time you’ll commit a month, a desired outcome they have in mind or something else entirely. The important thing is that you agree what they need and expect from you.

Once you have understood their expectations and have decided to go ahead, you can then build an agreed action plan together that you both can and want to commit to. It’s important that you are realistic about what can be achieved, so set your goals within an achievable timeframe

Listing expectations and goals are paramount to a successful mentorship, as it eliminates ambiguity surrounding the goals you are working towards.

Trust is a two way street

Trust is everything. The relationship between you and your mentee can’t be that of a lecturer and student. There needs to be open and honest communication, so that you can really help them progress. This often involves making the first move.

First things first, you need to try to be open about your experiences, both good and challenging, showing empathy and understanding. Try sharing stories of when in your career you’ve excelled and also made mistakes. All this will kickstart the process of creating a positive space where your mentee feels comfortable to be open and honest with you.

This type of relationship takes time, so don’t expect anything to happen too quickly. However, creating this safe learning environment is a great place to start.

Actively listen

We’ve all seen those Ted Talks about the power of listening, but we need to re-learn this skill as a mentor. Listening is often the overlooked other half in communication and to make sure that your mentee gets the best out of this opportunity, you need to be actively listening.

When we get busy with work and life in general, we often fall back into this habit of passively nodding as an acknowledgement when someone is speaking, but really we’re distracted and aren’t actually hearing what they’re saying. This won’t cut it with your mentee.

Your role is to listen to them and offer advice and guidance, you can only do that if you actively listen and take in what’s said. Once you do that, you can truly make a difference.

Community creates opportunity

Never underestimate your network. Throughout your career, your inner and outer professional circles will have grown tremendously and even if it’s not pivotal to your position now, you never know how your network could positively impact your mentee’s career.

There are lots of ways you can do this. You could offer them your connections where appropriate to do so, for example by using LinkedIn or face to face networking events. You can signpost them to other resources such as groups, seminars or blogs that they may find useful.

This can also be a win-win and work for you as well, as your mentee may open up new opportunities for you.

Be committed

Lastly, if you agree to be a mentor, remember it’s both a responsibility and a privilege to help progress anyone’s career. It can be an incredible experience for you and for your mentee, but only if you have the right mindset and don’t consider it as a hinderance to yourself.

Think about the people and leaders who have helped you in your career, what did they do to make you feel valued? To me, it’s being accountable, attending meetings, being available and present in those meetings and fulfilling any actions that were agreed.

Your mentee will understand your busy work schedule and having your own set of responsibilities, as long as they can also see how committed you are to helping them professionally.

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Want to build your career alongside a winning team, where your personal and professional development will be prioritised, then croseo!

Join a culture that’s open and inclusive, fair and fun. Join an equal opportunities employer, that strives to promote and reflect diversity through our culture and values. We want a team that reflects the best of today’s Wales, and the tech world around us.

So what are you waiting for? Come on board!