Executive coach, speaker and facilitator Ricky Nowak CAHRI and human resources specialist at Tatura Milk Industries Limited, Lainie Vaughan MAHRI talk about the value of mentoring and what they’ve learnt from it.
“Think deeply about why you want to be mentored and what’s important for you to change.” – Ricky Nowak CAHRI
“If I was working through a particular event, I knew that I could call Ricky anytime.” – Lainie Vaughan MAHRI
I started life in the theatre and learnt that performance was a powerful way to help people connect to real life situations – and this continues to underpin my work today,” says Ricky Nowak, a speaker and executive coach who runs her own business, as well as participating as a mentor in the AHRI mentoring program.
Deciding to become a mentor
Ricky Nowak, executive coach, speaker and facilitator
“I have been informally ‘mentoring’ many people for a long time without giving it a label. So it was the natural next step to join the AHRI program,” Nowak explains.
Mentors are matched by AHRI, based on the specific needs of the mentee. “Mine are clearly in the leadership and communication area,” says Nowak, which aligned well with Vaughan’s desire for professional growth.
What about first impressions?
The first meeting took place at Nowak’s office. “It was an informal, relaxed conversation around what she expected,” says Nowak. “Lainie was very open from the get-go – at that first session we both recognised that the more she was willing to ‘unpack’ with me, the more successful it was going to be. From then, it was a pleasure each time she walked through the door!”
“I was fortunate to have a great mentor,” says Lainie Vaughan, human resources specialist at Tatura Milk Industries Limited. “I liked Ricky’s genuine approach and her honesty. “It was important to me to build mutual trust and to obtain honest feedback on real situations and skills I was learning and implementing.
“Being mentored gave me the opportunity to focus on my professional growth, to gain new skills and refresh existing ones. Most of all it provided me clarity about where I am in my career and after 12 months, I was able to review what I had learnt.”
Advice for those considering becoming a mentee
Lainie Vaughan, human resources specialist at Tatura Milk Industries Limited
Vaughan says the most important things to bring to the experience are an open mind, preparedness for the task, willingness to be vulnerable – and some wiggle room. “My openness with Ricky built trust. Ricky was very generous with her time, tools and her network.”
“In return, I did the work. I did not want to waste her time; I wanted to learn and take on as much as I could.”
Before their first meeting, Vaughan did the preparation work provided by AHRI, including background on where she felt she was and what she wanted to achieve.
“We met face-to-face once a month. If I was working through a particular event, I knew I could call Ricky anytime. We would keep in touch on email, or if I needed additional support, we would speak on the phone.”
So, what advice would she give a mentee beginning the program?
“Having the support of your manager when becoming a mentee is incredibly beneficial,” says Vaughan.
“Most importantly, enjoy the experience of learning from your mentor. You’ll be amazed when you look back at where you started – and see how far you’ve come.”
As for Nowak, she says mentees need to think deeply about why they want to be mentored before their first meeting. “Be honest and look at some of your biggest challenges so you can focus on them,” she says. “Go in with a plan and a purpose.”
Advance your career with mentoring
Join AHRI’s Mentoring Program that pairs upcoming HR talent with experienced HR professionals. Exclusive to AHRI members. Applications for AHRI’s mentoring program closes 31 August – apply now.