Through the continued gathering of evidence of its impact, Business Mentoring Scotland has been shown to massively benefit mentees that join up to be mentored.
Through gaining access to the skills, knowledge, and experience of Scotland’s leading business leaders, business owners or employees can develop new ways of thinking that increase profitability and investment, inspire the development of new products, and lead to accessing new export markets. Positively influencing all of these factors has been shown to benefit the wider Scottish economy, but the guidance provided by mentors can also be subtle at times, influencing human behaviours with the financial impact difficult to measure. This element of mentoring is vitally important to mentees and can create long lasting positive effects on their future careers, their business’ efficiency and productivity.
When Arlene Kelly, Health and Safety Specialist with Sigma Aldrich – a leading life science firm headquartered in the US - signed up to Business Mentoring Scotland, she wanted to work on her own personal approach to her working environment and specifically - how she dealt with conflict, professional relationships and the pressures of working life. Pamela Anderson, owner of Sounding Board Associates and a senior HR consultant with Square Circle HR, has mentored a wide range of businesses through Business Mentoring Scotland, from firms in the manufacturing sector through to tourism. Pamela began mentoring Arlene in April 2014, and through using her expertise gained from a wide ranging and illustrious career including spells working within the public sector and in financial services, Pamela has successfully helped Arlene overcome her career obstacles, through a pairing of mentor and mentee that was in Arlene’s own words, the “perfect match”:
Why did you join Business Mentoring Scotland?
“It was word of mouth really. I knew a few people who had worked with Ayrshire Chamber and who’d been mentored through Business Mentoring Scotland and they recommended I try it.”
Why did you hope to achieve by going into mentoring?
“I had moved into a new role within the company where I had to influence people at varying levels of seniority and change existing ways of working. This can cause conflict and I was looking for some help to positively resolve situations as a lot of my reactions to challenges and criticism were emotional and having a negative effect on my attitude at work. I believed that this was hindering my career progression.”
How did the mentoring process work?
“Well before meeting Pamela, Rhona (Business Mentoring Scotland Executive) asked me to set out all the learning objectives I wanted to achieve from the process.”
Pamela and I then met in person a lot, we didn’t have an agenda as such, the initial meetings mostly involved me highlighting some of the areas where I had experienced difficulty and generally letting off some steam.”
What were your discussions focused upon?
“We focused on behavioural changes I could make. Pamela was very good at asking probing questions and getting me to think about situations from a different perspective and more objectively instead of emotionally.”
What have you learned through being mentored?
“I have learned that how I react in any situation is a choice. Pamela taught me techniques that I can and have used to remain calm and diffuse tension.
I have also learned how to accept things that I can’t change and focus on influencing those I can and how to move forward positively even when things haven’t gone as well as expected.”
What was the effect of Pamela’s mentoring?
“If I hadn’t been mentored by Pamela, for different reasons I don’t know if I would still be in my position today as I had to go through a very steep learning curve over the last 18 months. I’m now looking forward to the challenges ahead and know that I am more confident and better prepared to deal with them.”
How has being mentored benefited Sigma-Aldrich?
“I have a key role on site and my output has greatly increased. I am more efficient, effective and productive as I’m able to recognise where to direct my energy and time to make the biggest impact. I have more confidence in making decisions and taking on new challenges and this facilitates achieving site objectives. Being able to move on quickly and positively after an idea or proposal has been dismissed or rejected has been a critical factor in achieving this.”
What did you think about the mentoring match?
“It might sound cliché but it was the perfect match. Pamela was very easy to get on with, open and non- judgemental and her style matched my personality, I’d struggle to think of a better person to be my mentor. It was an excellent job by Rhona and the chamber in pairing us together.”
Would you recommend mentoring?
“I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about the programme. The way I was dealing with situations in work was a road block that was halting the progress of my career, Pamela has been instrumental in changing that.”