Getting the most out of mentoring

Guest writer: Carla Beheram

When I came into aged care as a “young” new graduate Registered Nurse, I thought that I had the knowledge and skills to do my job. There was no doubt that I had all of the theoretical knowledge to do what I needed to do however I wasn’t really prepared for the being a “supervisor or manager”. I didn’t anticipate having to “earn my stripes” in order to be respected or listened to.

Mentoring has been an enormous part of personal and professional development, having been  blessed with some amazing mentors. When I think about the mentors that had the biggest impact on my career so far there were certain elements that they all had in common. These things, for me, made the most significant impacts:

  1. 100% honest and truthful - at times the truth is hard to hear but it’s what I need. I have learnt not to take things personally but rather to view things as an opportunity to be better.
  2. Challenging the way I think - I am challenged to think about things in ways that I have not considered before.
  3. Role modelled and practiced what they preached - without fail, all of my mentors have never suggested something for me to try if they wouldn’t do it themselves.
  4. Open to learn from me - my mentors take a keen interest in learning from my experiences and are open to new ideas.
  5. They believe in me - I have learned to trust that if my mentors believes I can do something - it probably means that I can . Take that leap of faith! And finally
  6. Guide not provide - There has always been guidance to reach a set of possible solutions but never the answer never given to me.

As with any successful relationship, there is always give and take. As a mentee I have learnt to

  1. Being realistic about what my mentor can do for me.
  2. Being honest about what I need
  3. Being open and make sure that I am willing to learn and take advice
  4. Listen and contribute
  5. Accept responsibility for my learning and development - it’s up to me to make things work.

Having experienced and knowledgeable mentors has been incredibly important in my development. Being able to receive trust and support from someone who has “been there” has encouraged me to take risks and believe in myself. My mentors have undoubtedly contributed to my better performance.

Carla Beheram - Group Manager, SummitCare

Carla has over 12 years of experience in Aged Care, in both profit and not for profit organisations. As a Registered Nurse and working towards her MBA, Carla is passionate about mentoring and encouraging new managers to find their feet, to develop, grow and to learn how to thrive in an environment of constant change.