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Mentoring case studies

Our members share their experiences of mentoring.

Some of our members have shared their experiences of mentoring and explain how it has helped to boost their career prospects and support their journeys.

Vice-President's mentoring helps Josh earn Chartered status

IOSH Vice-President Richard Bate has seen our mentoring scheme from both sides.

At the start of his occupational safety and health (OSH) career, Richard's mentor guided him to the professional development resources available to members and this helped reduce the pressure he was feeling at the time.

Now an experienced professional with a varied 30-year OSH career, Richard shares his knowledge with others as an IOSH Mentor. He recently supported Brooklyn-based Josh Payne to become a Chartered Member.

Career boost

Passing the assessment to become a Chartered Member demonstrates competence, knowledge, skills and experience. It also earns international recognition that helps you:

  • influence decision-makers
  • work on an equal footing with other professionals
  • increase future employability.

Support

Josh used all the professional development resources available to him on the IOSH website and also sought guidance from his old friend and former colleague Richard.

Richard was impressed with the commitment shown by Josh to achieving Chartered status and his unique knowledge of offshore electrical safety systems and operational safety management in the offshore renewables sector. 

"Mentoring has given me free access to some incredible talented IOSH members who have world class, often unfamiliar knowledge in specialist areas – just like Josh," said Richard.

"Josh openly shared his knowledge of power generation in the renewables sector, which has directly benefited me in my new role within a global, sustainability driven cycling championship, the EBK GP series."

Benefits of being a mentor

Richard's experience as a mentor has boosted his own career and skills.

"I am pleasantly surprised at the strength of the friendships I have built during six years mentoring and how much my personal profile has risen amongst fellow IOSH members," he said.

"Mentoring has offered new and unexpected opportunities directly attributable to the IOSH Mentoring programme. Had I not become a mentor, then I would not have met our incoming President-Elect. Without this fortuitous meeting, I would never have stood for election as an IOSH Vice-President – a definitive direct personal benefit of mentoring.

"There are many reasons to mentor, not least exposing yourself to new and different perspectives, from a wide range of cultures. I use mentoring to promote IOSH objectives such as the competency framework and Catch the Wave, but also to promote personal passions around inclusivity, social sustainability, and accessible education.

"Mentoring has made me a better OSH practitioner, a better communicator and certainly more socially aware – it really is this simple, and also the nice warm fuzzy feeling when a mentee becomes Chartered."

Richard's top tips for mentors

  • Your mentee may be younger or less experienced but there’s many things they can teach you. The best mentoring relationships will see you learn and develop news skills from each other, much like Josh and I.
  • Adapt your mentoring approach to the individual mentee’s needs. Everyone is different and finding the best ways to support someone can be a satisfying part of the puzzle. It also means you are sharpening communication skills that will be useful far beyond mentoring.

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Bernard Mucha - a mentor and a mentee

There are multiple benefits to being an IOSH mentor or a mentee.

As a mentor you can get the feelgood factor of helping someone achieve their goals while honing your leadership skills. As a mentee you can receive the support you need to develop your knowledge and advance your career.

And you can do both at the same time, like Bernard Mucha, to reap double rewards.

Bernard signed up to the IOSH mentoring programme in April 2020 to help him reach Chartered status.

“I knew there were many experienced mentors, people that were ready to support and help me achieve this goal,” Bernard explains.

“With fantastic support from my IOSH Mentor and other professionals, I achieved CMIOSH in August 2020.

“At the same time, I became a mentor because I wanted to support other occupational safety and health (OSH) practitioners on their journeys to become better versions of themselves.”

To date he has mentored three IOSH members and benefited from reverse-mentoring.

“It is a two-way process where we both learn from each other,” says the 38-year-old.

Another highlight is the satisfaction of mentees achieving their goals.

His advice to anyone considering joining IOSH Mentoring – a free member benefit – is to go for it.

“This is a great platform and initiative where everyone can find relevant support to achieve their goals and objectives. You will meet great people and have an opportunity to give back to the profession.”

Born in Poland and now living in the UK, Bernard is an EHS (environmental health and safety) Manager with global company Givaudan. Although he’s always been interested in health and safety, he started his first dedicated OSH role six years ago.

That’s when he joined IOSH.

“I wanted to develop my knowledge and skills, use the resources, meet other professionals, receive advice and guidance and also support other OSH professionals,” says Bernard.

He values being part of his local IOSH branch, so much so that he has volunteered as the IOSH Staffordshire Branch Chair since May 2021.

“By volunteering, you support other members, you can influence their development and there is also a lot of enjoyment in organising branch events, attending various meetings and being part of a fantastic team,” he added.

“I believe that mentoring, engagement and support of OSH professionals as well as non-OSH individuals will make a positive impact on safety and health at work.”

Bernard’s top tips for mentors and mentees

Mentors – keep in regular contact with your mentees, show empathy and try to understand their needs, as they may be from different countries and cultures.

Mentees – use the platform and tools provided and keep in touch with your mentor as agreed to share the knowledge and skills they have.

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John Cliff mentors Christy Higgins to Chartered status

When John Cliff started out as an OSH professional there was little help available, which is why he was keen to join IOSH Mentoring as a mentor to share his knowledge and guide other OSH professionals through their career.

Through the IOSH Mentoring platform, John formed a relationship with Christy Higgins and guided him through his Skills Development Portfolio and Peer Review Interview, which led to Christy achieving Chartered status.

John's top tips for mentors and mentees

  • Start the conversation – focus on expectations, objectives, goal setting and, ultimately, whether you are best matched to achieve these. Both the mentee and mentor need to be comfortable, so don’t be dismayed if you’re not compatible.

Use tools where appropriate:

  • SWOT – understanding Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
  • G-Star – looking at goals, current Situation, Thinking, Actions, Results
  • SMART – where you want to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timebound.
  • It is fine for a mentee to have more than one mentor, as the latter may not have all the required skills, just make sure you’re open about it.
  • As a mentor, be mindful of how many mentees you have and realistic about the best service you can provide for them. On the IOSH Mentoring portal, the mentor has the choice to make themselves available or unavailable. Please use this.
  • Ending the relationship early – occasionally this will happen, for lots of reasons. Discuss and clarify how this will happen if either of you wishes to do so during your initial conversations.

Read the full story about John and Christy's successful mentoring partnership.

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Mentor Louisa is paying it forward

Coaching sessions made a big difference to Louisa Mead – so she has jumped at the chance to help others through the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) Mentoring scheme.

As Divisional Safety Implementation and Support Manager at John Lewis Partnership and a Chartered Member of IOSH, Louisa has a wealth of skills and knowledge to impart.

She has recently signed up as a mentor and is “excited” to share the journeys of her two mentees.

Louisa said: “Last year I had some personal coaching sessions, which really opened my mind to how important it is to spend time thinking about myself, my thoughts, feelings and behaviours. So, I am keen to pay it forward.

“In return, I would like to learn and grow within the mentor process and develop new life skills by sharing experiences and opinions.”

IOSH Mentoring connects mentees who identify gaps in their knowledge with experienced professional mentors. Participation can help mentees develop skills and achieve career aspirations, and mentors improve their leadership, communication and coaching skills.

The best thing about being a mentor, so far, for Louisa is meeting new people (virtually) that she wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet otherwise.

“Give it a go. You have nothing to lose,” she said.

Louisa’s interest in occupational safety and health (OSH) dates to an early managerial role with a manufacturing company, whose OSH manager produced documents to be implemented but rarely visited the factory floor.

“I thought there must be a better and more engaging way of doing this,” she said.

“I started to get involved, initiated workplace tours and inspections and completed the necessary qualifications, joining IOSH in 2006.”

Louisa enjoys making a difference, with duties for her current role including implementing changes to policy and procedures and providing safety insight and assurance.

“Working in OSH means that every day is different and a new challenge,” she said. “It’s a constant learning process and I love interacting with lots of different people and ultimately making sure people can work and go home safely.”

Having achieved CMIOSH in 2013, Louisa is now working towards Chartered Fellowship.

She said: “In July I was appointed as a committee member of the IOSH Logistics and Retail Committee, so I am able to further help others to benefit from being a member of IOSH. 

“Networking, sharing key learnings and keeping up to date with developments in health and safety are just some of the key benefits of being a member of IOSH. 

“I am keen to become a Chartered Fellow, as I want to become a recognised ambassador for our profession, striving towards our shared intent of keeping everyone safe and healthy.”

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See also