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An insight into a mentoring relationship

IIRSM’s mentoring scheme helps you be a mentor or mentee to develop your skills, grow your network, receive one-to-one support from a dedicated professional and to enhance your career progression and employability.

We spoke to one of IIRSM’s mentors, Norman Smith, and his mentee, Mohit Sharma, about their experience with the IIRSM mentoring scheme and to get their advice for anyone who is considering registering. Norman and Mohit have been working together under the IIRSM mentoring scheme and its digital platform for over a year.

Here’s what they had to say.

Why did you want to become a mentor/mentee?

Norman: “Mentoring has always been part of my role at work, through IIRSM or through work. I became involved with the IIRSM mentoring scheme to get some international exposure. 

My first experience was with an IIRSM member in Zimbabwe, and I have to say that developing an understanding of his issues, his commitment to overcoming them and working with him was a humbling experience and put my personal issues in perspective.”

Mohit: “I believe in the phrase ‘the right mentor can change your career’. With this in mind, I was eager to find an honest mentor to guide me in setting my career goals. In my opinion, mentors are experts in turning their positive and negative experiences into opportunities for learning. It was very important for me to find someone who could demonstrate a genuine interest and willingness to invest time in helping me to develop personally and professionally.”

How has the mentoring relationship developed and what benefits have you received from this?

Norman: “Our initial focus was on realistic career planning and improving Mohit’s presentation skills, from slide deck development through to the appropriate delivery across a range of audiences.

“Each of the topics we worked on opened further discussions around the situation Mohit was managing and the approaches that I could share as seen to work in other parts of the world. This is an interesting area of learning for me, because the solutions available to a country with a well-developed safety culture with the necessary finance and resources cannot be directly applied to other situations with varying influences and capabilities.

“I have witnessed Mohit’s professional development and increased confidence in the last year, which is highly rewarding, and I look forward to continuing this relationship.”

Mohit: “Norman and I have been communicating through regular virtual meetings two or three times a month and have built a strong relationship based on trust and openness over the course of our journey so far. Being mentored by a senior industry leader is a great and enriching privilege. I gain a level of insight from Norman that books and websites simply could not provide.”

Why do you think it’s important as a risk management professional to have a mentor?

Norman: “We all need a sounding board, someone to listen, discuss issues and then propose some guidance, offer up solutions, share materials, signpost resources and generally check that we are in the right place. The risk management professionals I have worked with have all been committed to their role, but do not always have access to this level of support internally. The mentor acts as an independent resource and, once trust has been established, this enables the mentee to confidently ask questions, and to discuss and challenge important topics. This provides both mentor and mentee with an excellent opportunity for learning.”

Mohit: “Mentoring provides a sense of belonging and assures mentees that there is someone who cares about them and that they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges. It makes them feel like they matter. Mentors provide specific insight and information that can enable their mentees to succeed. They provide instructions on how to perform certain tasks or develop useful skills. Having such guidance can help individuals beginning their careers to feel more comfortable in the role much more quickly.”

What do you like about the IIRSM mentoring platform?

Norman: “It is such a simple way to get involved, it’s open to every member and it’s an enjoyable way to keep learning.”

Mohit: “I really enjoy the IIRSM mentoring scheme. I especially benefited from the host of tools available to help you find a suitable mentoring match, manage your mentoring relationships and schedule goals and track progress, whether you’re a mentor or mentee. It makes mentoring easy, efficient, and enjoyable, so my advice is to check it out and to seriously consider a mentoring relationship as part of your career development and networking.”

What’s your message to other IIRSM members who are unsure about becoming a mentor/mentee?

Norman: “When a mentoring relationship is well established and both participants make the agreed contribution, it is always a win-win situation. As the mentor, I actually think you learn the most, and some of that learning is about yourself and your own capability and level of understanding. It makes you review and reflect on your own knowledge of different topics, which may have been dormant for some time, and to keep up to date with the latest developments.

“A major benefit of being a mentor is that you get an insight into what the new and developing risk professionals are experiencing, which opens your mind to varying perspectives. This has really helped me working in an international organisation.

“It is a great feeling supporting others in their development and watching them gain confidence and capability. I believe mentoring should be a prerequisite in becoming a risk professional.”

Mohit: “For those who are just starting out in their careers, I highly recommend finding a mentor so that they can be supported, provided with feedback, offered advice, and helped to determine and accomplish their goals. In many ways, it can become a significant relationship in your life, with the potential to seriously impact your career trajectory.”


Find out more about the IIRSM mentoring scheme

IIRSM’s mentoring scheme helps you be a mentor or mentee to develop your skills, grow your network, receive one-to-one support from a dedicated professional to enhance your career progression and employability. In addition, it's a great way to support and maintain your CPD. 

Our scheme has been developed to align with the IIRSM Risk Management and Leadership Competence Framework. The framework helps you identify any knowledge or skills gaps that the mentoring relationship can help you to develop and enhance.

And now IIRSM members can benefit from a brilliant new digital platform with a wealth of tools to help you find a suitable mentoring match, manage your mentoring relationships, schedule goals and track progress, whether you’re a mentor or mentee.

Find out more here about IIRSM's mentoring scheme, which is supported by HSE Recruitment. 

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