Mentoring and Newcomers
Formal or informal mentoring is a significant part of our personal and professional development. Mentoring for the new Canadians is critical as it helps in speeding up their assimilation to the new country and new workplace. I met amazing mentors who provided continuous and selfless support in my transition to the Canadian workplace. Even today, I look up to them for advice. My struggles, opportunities, and the support I received from my mentors motivated me to pay it forward and I started volunteering as a mentor. Since 2009, I have completed ten successful mentoring partnerships with TRIEC. In addition, informally I try my level best to guide new Canadians who reach out to me.
Mentoring is the first step towards building trust, credibility, and network currency. A mentor may be a person who has been through similar experiences and is a successful professional in her/his career. A mentee is a person who is looking for career guidance and exposure to opportunities while transitioning to the new workplace. All throughout one’s career, one may have mentors on a regular basis to do well and evolve in their profession. However, mentors who support new Canadians have some unique skills, experiences, passion, patience, and commitment to create an empowered community around them.
With this post, I intend to share insights from mentoring that may be useful for new Canadians.
Finding Mentors: There are several tools, techniques, and platforms that can help you find mentors.
An informational interview is one of my most favourite tools. Once you identify your (alternative) career path, find out the professionals in that industry, contact them with a professionally written email requesting for an informational interview/session. With an informational interview, you are not asking for a job but seeking guidance on your career path. This is an opportunity to present your competencies and build rapport. Informational interviews are well received among Canadian professionals and they are quick in responding back.
Bridging programs are extremely effective and can connect you with industry partners and professionals who may agree to become your mentors. Other platforms include career advice feature on LinkedIn, Ten Thousand Coffees , TRIEC Mentoring Partnership, and here at Brilliant Mind Group platform.
Tips for Mentees: Mutual trust is critical in mentoring. Do your homework prior to your meetings and ask many questions. Do not hesitate to ask any question as no question is a dumb question. From my experiences, I can say that mentees who are open and willing to unlearn and relearn are usually more successful than those who have ‘I know’ attitude. Be open-minded and receptive. Lucky are those mentees who receive direct (constructive) feedback from the mentors. Be mindful that mentors typically volunteer their time, efforts and resources to help and support, their intention in providing constructive feedback is to help you succeed in your career path.
Wishing you all the best. Believe in the philosophy of ‘Paying Forward’. Once you achieve your career goal and whenever it is the right time for you, help and support a new Canadian in the transition.
Dr. Parveen Gill