If you’ve ever heeded advice that shaped the nature of your career, met someone for coffee to discuss career challenges or asked someone senior at work for advice, you’ve been mentored.
Mentoring plays a significant role in career progression, with mentees more likely to get promotions. As companies focus their attention on attracting diverse talent, a formal mentoring program is a good way to retain diverse talent and build inclusivity into the corporate culture.
Mentoring is a two-way relationship where one person is a mentee with a problem to solve or a goal to reach, and the other is a mentor who shares insights and advice. The relationship between the mentor and the mentee is based on trust and confidentiality. It provides a safe place to discuss issues, explore solutions to challenges and gain a fresh perspective.
The relationship may be formed to address one challenge or could be a long-term arrangement between two people or even a board of advisors. The most important aspect of mentoring is that both parties are clear on the goals and specific outcomes of the relationship.
While having formal mentoring at the workplace has its benefits, seeking mentoring relationships outside of your team can allow for more honest conversations as mentees are empowered to ask questions that they wouldn’t dare ask someone connected to their boss. External mentoring can also continue to flourish as people change jobs and careers evolve.
At RICS in the Americas, the most common form of mentoring is between a counsellor and a candidate seeking qualification. Later in the qualification process, assessors step into the role of a short-term mentor on a board of advisors during the assessment interview. Assessors provide candidates with advice on where their experience could be enhanced and next steps in their career progression.
While the mentor shares experience and advice, the mentee shares new perspectives and recent learnings. The effect is that both parties benefit from this two-way meeting of the minds. But before you volunteer for the role, decide what you can bring to the relationship in both experience and time commitment.
Counsellors work with candidates one-on-one – reviewing applications and approving them before the submission deadline. Candidates lean on their counsellors to show their experience in the best light and this may require answering questions and reading multiple drafts. There’s an on-line training module that covers the basics of what RICS requires of those in this role – it counts as two hours of formal CPD.
An assessor undergoes in-person assessor training through RICS to ensure they’re fully qualified to assess the candidate’s experience and suitability for the qualification. Newly-qualified assessors are required to participate in an assessment as an observer before assessing their first candidate.
Once fully qualified, the assessor will sit on panels that require time to review applications and become familiar with the candidate before the formal interview – a process that takes one hour for the interview and one hour to deliberate for each candidate. RICS is moving to have more assessments done face-to-face so the commitment may require some travel as well.
Whatever form of mentoring you choose, the relationship may offer you just the refresh you need.
Take the online training to become an RICS counsellor here. And send the qualifications team a copy of your e-certificate to be added to the database of counsellors. Email the qualifications team at: MembershipAmericas@rics.org.