Introducing the Mentoring Program
As part of our continued efforts to highlight the networking and capacity building programs we offer at International Women in Business Düsseldorf (iwibdus), this year we are launching a new blog series about our mentoring program. This is the first of many posts we have planned.
What is the Mentoring Program?
The Mentoring program was founded three years ago, with the objective of helping iwibdus members grow into the careers and skills they aspire to. The program brings together members who seek to nurture and be nurtured as mentors and mentees.
Mentors often join the program to cultivate their coaching skills, while mentees join for a variety of reasons. Mentees in this year’s cohort joined the program to make career changes, launch new businesses, develop new skills, and/or find a job in a specific sector.
Aside from connecting mentors to mentees at the start of the program, the mentoring team plays a critical role in developing both parties. In this blog post, we will talk about how iwibdus mentoring team ensures that mentors and mentees emerge from the program with outcomes they seek.
Matching the Women
One of the most important roles of the mentoring organizers is to match mentors and mentees before the program kicks off in September.
Mentors and Mentees are matched based on the answer to the following questions:
- What outcomes are a Mentor seeking?
- What outcomes are the Mentees seeking?
- What skills can Mentors help Mentees cultivate?
- Has a mentor achieved what the mentor wants to achieve?
- Do mentees and mentors have interests in the same professional field and/or skills?
Answering these questions is time-intensive, takes precision, and a great deal of dialogue. This year, the two mentoring organizers spent 30 minutes with 35 women to ensure that they gathered enough information to make the best decisions for all their stakeholders.
Aside from this upfront work, organizers also provide ongoing training and check in sessions for both mentors and mentees. These meetings are designed to nurture the development of both parties.
What makes this program truly special is that it is powered by women who are genuinely committed to the mission of women supporting women. Neither the organizers nor the mentors are paid for the services they provide.
To ensure that iwibdus honors the investment and effort they put into this program, the mentoring teams organizes regular training programs that help mentors become better coaches. The objective is to ensure that the mentors are able to apply these skills in other areas of their lives.
For example, a recent training session was designed to help mentors increase their emotional intelligence. The goal was to help mentors navigate conflict, challenging relationships, and other difficult interpersonal situations that may arise in their professional lives.
One of the characteristics of our community that we are most proud of is that we set no barriers to entry. We want all our members to come to us exactly as they are-whatever stage of their personal and professional life they are. This is also true of mentoring programs. We welcome women with different backgrounds and goals. There is no prerequisite.
With so many diverse interests and goals, the monthly check-ins are designed to help mentees maximize their time with mentors, by helping mentees stay focused on achieving their goals, address any concerns they have, and share lessons they’ve learned.
Finally, in order to foster connection between this community, the mentoring team organizes in-person get togethers specifically for mentors and mentees. The goal is to ensure that mentors and mentees have equal access to wealth of knowledge and experience that rests within this program.
In our next mentoring blog post, you will hear from a mentee about her observations and experiences thus far.
Written By Volunteer Marie Gray. Marie started volunteering with iwibdus when she found us via google and watched the TED talk. She is an amazing member of the team and we love her blog series!