A proactive mentoring program is the latest initiative by the Building Supply Industry Association of British Columbia (BSIABC).
Thomas Foreman, BSIABC president, sees improving mentoring opportunities as something of a mission. “I see the development of people in our industry lacking,” he says. “I wanted my board and members to see the incredible benefit of mentoring.”
Foreman turned to Dr. Carson Pue, an executive mentor, author, and speaker based in B.C. They spent the past year developing and working out the course details. Prue focuses on several aspects of mentoring that will enhance the workspace, including:
- identifying potential leaders within your team
- establishing the groundwork for a succession-planning process for owners
- communicating to the mentors themselves the satisfaction that comes from contributing to the development of capable individuals
Not only is an established mentoring program good for existing employees, but it makes a company more attractive to new hires. “It’s something that makes your business stand out from others,” Pue says in his introduction to the training program.
Prue’s course for BSIABC will focus on formal training, with a set series of course modules and testing to guide potential mentors. The course materials outline core mentoring skills and provide the fundamentals for effective mentorship.
Topics covered include the expectations a mentee might have, such as adhering to regular times to meet, which validates the mentee’s role and the mentoring process in general. Pue notes, for example, that mentoring meetings can be postponed, but never cancelled. This formal approach ensures that mentees feel valued and stay invested in the program.
Ideally, a mentee will bring their goals and hopes and share them in a supportive environment. Besides aspirational goals, the process can help a mentee deal with real-life scenarios—such as team members they don’t get along with. Ultimately, says Pue, the process will be valuable to both mentor and mentee.
“I think the role of being a mirror to one another is something that is very important in our development and our growth.”