Megan making the most of mentoring
- Date posted
- 01 February 2023
- Estimated reading time
- 3 minute read
Megan Coleman TechIOSH is safety, health, environment and quality (SHEQ) advisor at RSK Group and part of our future leaders community. She explains the importance of mentoring for her career development and interviews her mentor Karen Godfrey CFIOSH to get her perspective on the relationship.
Mentoring is an extremely beneficial free resource that should be a key part of your occupational safety and health (OSH) career progression, no matter what stage you’re at.
It is important that you find the right fit as no two mentee-mentor relationships are the same. If you’re a mentee, complete your analysis and personal development plan to highlight what areas you’d like and would benefit to be mentored on. If you’re a mentor, recognise your strengths and be clear in what elements you can offer support and mentorship in.
Developing the relationship can help both of you learn new things, build your networks, and most importantly grow together as professionals. Having a trusted individual – outside of your own company and ‘work bubble’ – who has your best interests in mind and can offer unbiased advice and opinions has proven invaluable to my OSH career journey so far.
Everyone will gain something different from mentoring.
I have personally gained a wealth of knowledge and resource from my mentoring relationship so far, including:
- encouragement and empowering my personal development
- advice and guidance on a variety of elements – whether it be a work issue, career advice, interview preparation and support or peer reviewing
- helping to identify and achieve my career goals while also maintaining a broader ‘big-picture’ perspective on career options and opportunities
- constructive feedback
- a trusted ally.
Value of being a mentor
I spoke to my mentor, Karen Godfrey CFIOSH for her perspective of being a mentor. Karen is head of safety, health, environment and quality (SHEQ) for nuclear at infrastructure and construction company Morgan Sindall.
Why did you become a mentor?
“In the early stages of my career as a graduate health and safety adviser, no one really talked to me about IOSH or career progression other than following the pre-determined structure of a graduate programme. As a result, I started my IOSH journey quite late on in my health and safety career and in many ways that has made my IOSH journey more challenging. I decided to become a mentor so that I could support people at various different stages of their IOSH journey and help them prepare for the next steps in their career. It’s also a great way to meet new people and to learn about different industries.”
What have you gained and learned since becoming a mentor?
“I’ve been reminded about how stressful the Chartered process can feel when you’re in it! Many of my mentees are about to go through their panel interview or are resitting it – I can help guide them in terms of how to best prepare themselves for the day. I volunteer as a panel member for the Chartered interviews so this also helps me to settle their nerves and explain the process to them. I’ve also gained appreciation for how varied a career in health and safety can be – from health and safety lead for a veterinary practice to offshore wind farms – no two mentees are the same!”
What would you say to other OSH professionals who are thinking about becoming a mentor?
“What are you waiting for? Registering to become an IOSH mentor is simple and once you’ve created your profile the rest is up to the mentee. Mentoring does not have to be rigid or formal. Each of my mentees requires a different level of support from me, ranging from structured one-to-one sessions each month to a more relaxed ‘catch up’ approach. Not every health and safety professional is in a position where they have someone they can talk things through with so quite often the role of the mentor may be as simple as acting as a sounding board to someone. It’s such a rewarding feeling to see someone you have been mentoring secure the next level of their IOSH membership or that next promotion based on guidance, advice and support you have given them.”
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Last updated: 01 February 2024