Mentor: Sharyn Coles CAHRI
Current job title: Manager, people and performance at a community services organisation in the not-for-profit sector
Q. Tell us about your career history.
I’ve worked in the HR profession for over 24 years in various HR generalist roles. In my current job, I lead a team of five, which takes care of all facets of HR for the business. It’s a very busy and challenging role and no two days are the same.
Q. Why did you decide to become a mentor?
I wanted to pass on my knowledge to someone who’s looking to grow in the HR profession. Being a mentor also means learning from the mentee, which I believe is highly valuable.
Q. Have you learnt anything from Pooja?
I certainly have! Pooja has been employed in the not-for-profit sector longer than I have, so I found it interesting and valuable to learn of the challenges in Pooja’s organisation, which were quite similar to my own.
Q. What do you hope Pooja has taken away from the mentoring experience?
I hope that Pooja has learnt to have greater confidence in her own abilities. I’ve been able to connect her with contacts in the area she is most interested in, which is industrial relations. I hope that helps her to learn more in this area and to enable her to grow within her own organisation.
Q. What are your recommendations for mentees to get the most out of the experience?
I would recommend that mentees ask questions of their mentor. The mentor/mentee relationship is one that is built on trust and respect, so the mentee should make the most of it. Another important aspect of this relationship is to schedule when, where and how you will meet right at the beginning. I also recommend that you use the literature (the mentor/mentee kit AHRI supplied) in setting goals.
Mentee: Pooja Pandit CAHRI
Current job title: HR officer at a not-for-profit organisation
Q. What have you got out of the mentoring experience?
It has been invaluable. I was very pleased to be partnered with Sharyn, because she has vast HR and industrial relations experience. Throughout the process I really enjoyed having a mentor outside the organisation I’m working in, which provided me with an added perspective and opinion in the way I view current work situations. The experience significantly helped with my professional development.
Q. What has been the most important lesson you will take away from this mentoring experience?
This whole process has challenged me at every stage. It has taught me how to evaluate my work performance and it has increased the confidence I have in my capabilities and human resource learnings.
Q. Tell us about your first session.
We talked about our career backgrounds, interests and what we both wanted to get out of this mentoring relationship. We agreed how regularly we would meet and what the plan of action was going to be in those meetings to achieve the goals we had set. We developed a flexible arrangement, rather than having a fixed schedule.
Q. How often did you meet after that?
We scheduled meetings every month. They were mostly breakfast meetings, which suited both of our schedules. Sharyn would send me case studies during the week and we would discuss them in our scheduled meetings. The case studies were often tailored towards industrial relations, an area I identified as something I wanted to develop confidence in. It was really beneficial.
Q. What would your dream HR job be?
A senior HR position in a reputable organisation.
Q. What advice would you give a mentee wanting to participate in the program?
Define clear goals and expectations before starting the process. Know exactly what you want to get out of the mentoring program.
Whether you are a mentee wanting to excel in your current position or a seasoned professional looking to develop your coaching and mentoring skills, AHRI’s members-only mentoring program will give you valuable insights from the sharing of advice, knowledge and experiences. The program runs over a 12-month period. Find out more information on the AHRI mentoring program.