The Mentorship Program is a volunteer-based engagement between someone who has project management experience and knowledge and is willing to share it (the mentor), with someone that is interested in learning more about one, or more, aspects of project management (the protégé).
This program is sponsored by the PMI Vancouver Island Chapter and is available to anyone who is a PMI Vancouver Island Chapter member. There are no additional fees required to partake in the program.
* Maximum 45 can be earned for 3-year cycle
Total possible PDUs for Mentors: 13
Total possible PDUs for Protégés: 18
“Made new connections with other PMs, and established a new, strong relationship with my mentor.”
Read more on what other people say about it.
Being a Mentor Will Teach You Critical Career Skills (Like Leadership)
Mentoring will reward you with personal and professional leadership development opportunities
I have been fortunate to learn from mentors on how to select a boss or how to ask for a promotion. They encouraged me to pursue my ambitions, lifting me when I was ready to give up. They guided me in solving career challenges I thought were impossible to overcome. They gave me the confidence to take on the big roles before I felt ready. Even in recognizing these wins, I give only partial credit to my mentors for the successes I have earned.
I also credit myself for choosing to become a mentor. Hear me out on what may sound like a self-centred comment. Mentoring others was a huge part of my learning process to become the leader I am today. Within a mentoring arrangement, I was humbled by the difficulties of building success in others.
The Relationship Between Mentor and Protégé
Mentors give advice, and mentees learn from their mentors’ working experiences. They are new to a region or field, such as project management in Canada. Mentors with deep experience and interest to help can be a confidence booster a mentee needs. Help in the form of introducing network, giving advice, encouraging positive thinking. Being a mentor may be a sacrifice of your time, though it pays out in personal and professional well-being. It can boost your self-image and your career.
“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself “ — Oprah Winfrey
Benefits of Becoming a Mentor
Mentoring is well known to serve the apprentice. The classic story of a student seeks a teacher, then the student becomes the teacher. The focus has been on the benefits for the one being mentored. Are there benefits for the mentor? Yes, these have been overlooked, mentors become better at their jobs and are happier.
I joined a formal mentoring program in 2017 that resulted in an unexpected growth spurt for me. I may have benefited more than the brilliant gentleman I mentored. The mentoring program matched Canadian professionals with skilled newcomers. My protégé was a science and project management master from England, wanting to work in Canada. I read his profile like I was hiring for a project manager and was instantly impressed. With my large network, a willingness to give back to the community, and expertise in leading projects, I agreed to the match.
I was confident in my ability to assist my mentoring match to find a job. I already held a professional designation and been a practice leader for more than a decade. I had a network looking for talent. I was enthusiastic to make a difference. I was ready to pass on the errors I had made. What else could be necessary for helping another person become successful?
Critical Career Skills
What I was unprepared for was the basics of how to impart knowledge effectively. Getting someone else to do what you would have done or to avoid the errors you had made is a hard mission!
That mentoring relationship prepared me for my role today. My work life now is centred on inventing new leaders. In the struggles of steering this newcomer, my technical job abilities were not enough. I had to explain my years of knowledge and that meant improving my communication. It meant stretching to say and write things in different ways. Checking the rearview mirror, opportunities opened for me in leadership because of what my mentor taught me.
Professional Development: A Mentor is a Leader
A mentor is an individual that sees a goal and breaks it down into daily tasks sprinkled with inspirational advice. Then provides training and support to coach another individual to successful outcomes. The qualities to be an excellent mentor turns to be the same ones needed by highly effective leaders. My experience as a mentor prepared me for new management positions. It enabled me to practice communicative leadership skills I still use every day.
Personal Well-Being: Reduce Stress
Passing on wisdom is one of the most rewarding parts of being a mentor. The feel-good response can have a positive effect to reduce stress in other parts of a mentor’s life. Mentoring within a highly stressful profession, policing, was found to reduce anxieties in this study. The senior officers who mentored junior colleagues expressed they learned new coping strategies from talking about shared issues.
Just because we grow in our career experiences doesn’t mean we stop feeling the strain from our daily work life. Helping someone else tackle a career obstacle can give us satisfaction evident by this recent study on the stress reduction that comes from doing good deeds for others.
“Helping others is the way we help ourselves“ — Oprah Winfrey
What Great Mentors Look Like
There are three categories of an effective mentor:
- Personal relations: friendly, open, keeps discussions confidential
- Professional experience: ability and expertise in their field of work
- Communication: flexible delivery style, clear yet comprehensive
Receiving encouragement, advice and feeling heard are other qualities described by protégés about their best mentors. We can see the elements of a great mentor look a lot like those we look for in a great leader.
Steps to Becoming a Mentor
Seek a local chapter in your profession. Most professional organizations require mentors. For example, my local project management group, Vancouver Island chapter, offers on-demand opportunities.
Join a mentoring network. Regional or national programs are available to pair you with an individual who would benefit from your expertise.
Choose to give career advice on LinkedIn. The program allows you to opt-in to the program and set preferences on who and what topics you can advise on.
Volunteer to mentor at your workplace. Let your manager or human resource partner know you would the expertise you have to mentor other work associates. Some companies have formal mentoring programs. Even the ones that don’t, behind closed doors, leaders wish respected colleagues who could be great mentors would volunteer. If you showed interest in becoming a mentor, you would likely get paired. At the same time, helping a peer navigate the workplace is an extremely good deed that won’t go unnoticed.
Let your network know you’re looking to mentor. Your professional contacts might be considering a career switch, or a new job shift, or a chance to grow into their next role. Give your network the heads-up that you’re an available mentor. You might be presented with an opportunity.