Having a mentor can help shape the way we approach and earn success. Though everyone’s path is unique, it is helpful to have insight into possible roads to take. Caryn Siebert is no rookie when it comes to the world of being a mentor. From taking advice from others to navigate her career change to helping build others up, she is well versed in what it takes to be a good mentor as well as a good mentee.
Starting her career off as a lawyer, Caryn has now worked her way into the insurance industry as the VP of Business Development for the Carrier Practice at Gallagher Bassett. Going through her career changes, Caryn got help from mentors to help guide her decisions.
When it comes to being a mentor, Caryn has learned what important qualities are needed. From the start, it is necessary to create a safe space. Having a safe space helps ensure there won’t be judgment from either end when discussing ideas and issues. Having a level of comfortability between a mentor and mentee will lead to more optimistic discussions.
Once a safe space is created, the advice can begin to be given. Giving advice should be open ended. Using phrases such as “If it was me, I would consider these options” are better than telling your mentee exactly what they must do. There typically is not one ‘right’ path, so giving options for different avenues is helpful.
As a mentor, continue to remind your mentee that their ‘end goal’ is not the most important part of their journey. Goals can change as different opportunities come about. Celebrate your mentees successes, big or small, to help encourage them to continue with their path.
Constructive criticism is an important, sometimes harsh reality, mentees need to hear. One of the best ways to grow is to learn from past mistakes. As a mentor, approach these situations with grace so the mentee doesn’t feel disheartened. Offer advice on how to take action to improve in specific terms rather than generalities. Make sure both sides of the conversation were understood by asking your mentee, “What did you hear from me? What do you think I said?” This will help ensure both sides are on the same page on how to accomplish what needs to get done.
Taking on the role of a mentor is a relationship that is beneficial for both parties. At any stage of one’s career it is always helpful to gain insight from people at all stages of their careers to help self-improvement.
Caryn Siebert, VP of Business Development for the Carrier Practice, Gallagher Bassett
Blog by: Melina Ressler, Intern, Alliance of Women in Workers’ Compensation