What is Career Collaborator ?
Career Collaborator is a mentoring program made up of a network of UNSW staff, affiliates and partners. Career Collaborator is supported by the Chronus mentoring platform, which uses a matching algorithm based on your profile to suggest connections within the UNSW network. You can sign up to Career Collaborator at a anytime, connections are set at 6 months and can be shortened or extended based on your preference. The program is completely flexible, the platform can be used to document and guide you through the mentoring connection or you can simply use the platform to find a connection and continue the relationship offline.
How do I get started with Career Collaborator ?
Getting started on Career Collaborator is easy. Watch this quick video to find out how:
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why am I encouraged to sign up as both a mentor and mentee?
Did you know…
- Mentoring relationships are reciprocal, you learn just as much as a mentor as you do as a mentee
- The best mentors are mentees themselves, being in a similar situation enables them to empathise with their mentee
The idea of the Career Collaborator, among many other benefits, is that we are creating a community who are role models for the Values in Action: Our UNSW Behaviours. The Values in Action are:
- Displays Respect
- Drives Innovation
- Builds Collaboration
- Demonstrates Excellence
- Embraces Diversity
We also understand that some mentoring programs can have an abundance of mentees yet not enough mentors to match with and this can become a burden to the mentors. To ensure the Career Collaborator adds the most value for everyone who participates, the program encourages that you sign up as both a mentor and mentee.
2. Can I say no to a mentoring request?
Of course, you can! We understand that everyone has many commitments. Although we strongly encourage everyone to mentor, as the best mentors are also mentees themselves - it’s a reciprocal community, you can opt out of being a mentor.
Once signed on to the platform you have the option to control how many mentees you take on board. The default is set at two. If you think this is too many you can adjust this down to 1 by clicking on your profile picture>account settings>Settings: Career Collaborator> then adjusting the connections limit number to what you are comfortable with. Don’t forget to save! We recommend only 1 or 2 at the same time. By changing your mentoring connections limit down to 0 you will no longer be suggested in the matching algorithm and you will be greyed out on the platform.
3. I don’t understand how it works being both a mentor and mentee?
We do not advise that you have a two-way mentor relationship where both you and your mentor play dual mentor/mentee roles for each other.
In each relationship, one person takes the mentor role and one the mentee role. For example: in one mentoring relationship you might be the mentee, later in the year or concurrently, in a separate newly formed mentoring relationship, you might be the mentor.
4. What are the benefits of a Mentoring relationship?
Mentoring relationships do not just benefit the mentee; there are benefits to be gained for the mentor and the broader organisation.
Benefits for the mentee include:
- Developing new skills e.g. in teaching, research, conflict resolution, digital expertise
- Gaining access to new professional networks and contacts
- Gaining greater insight into UNSW operations and culture
- Finding new ways to solve problems
- Help with career planning
- Increase in confidence and job satisfaction
Benefits for the mentor include:
- Developing skills in listening and coaching
- Enhanced self-esteem and confidence
- A safe space to reflect and learn from your past experiences
- Developing leadership and interpersonal skills
- Gaining new insights into UNSW operations and culture, as well as their own current practice
- A chance to actively assist the professional development of a colleague
Benefits for the organisation include:
- Retention of talented staff
- Developing potential leaders internally
- Increased job satisfaction and productivity due to increased motivation
- Employee relationships and collaboration enhanced
- Develops a greater sense of community
5. What is the role of the mentor?
The role of the mentor is to guide, support, and, where appropriate act as a role model for their mentee in helping them achieve their goals. They will provide wisdom and insight as well as constructive criticism and suggestions for action.
Although each mentor will bring their own personality and expertise to the mentoring relationship, mentors can help build a positive mentoring relationship by:
- Being an active listener and sounding board
- Sharing lessons, mistakes, anecdotes
- Maintaining confidentiality and respect
- Introducing the Mentee to new networks and contacts
- Discouraging dependency
- Challenging their mentee
- Maintaining excellent self-management skills
- Being non-judgemental, and accepting of the differences in people and their style of working
It is important to note that a mentor is not a manager, and thus a mentor does not replace the mentee’s supervisor regarding their day-to-day work. On the flip side, a mentee is not a disciple of the mentor, and mentors cannot expect to control a mentee through the mentoring relationship.
6. What is the role of the mentee?
Ultimately the role of the mentee is to learn from their mentor, accepting feedback and challenges from them to grow and develop within their career and life. Although each mentee will bring their own personality and experiences to the mentoring relationship, mentees can help build a positive mentoring relationship by:
- Being a great listener
- Taking responsibility for their own professional and personal development
- Maintaining confidentiality and respect
- Seeking and accepting both positive and constructive feedback
- Reflecting on what has been shared and learned
- Participating fully in the relationship
It is important to note that a mentor is not someone who could – or should – resolve issues for their mentee. Mentors can be a sounding board, provide advice and access to networks as appropriate, but it is not their role to resolve issues or problems on behalf of their mentee.
7. I’ve been matched with a mentor/mentee – what happens now?
Now you have been matched with your mentor/mentee, it is important to set some ground rules you can use the mentoring agreement template as a tool to facilitate this conversation. You can start with a chemistry connection, to test if you are a good connection, then follow the online mentoring program to reach your milestones.
The following items should be discussed in your first meeting and incorporated into the mentoring agreement (optional). Not all these things may be established in the initial meeting, and so the second meeting may be used for finalising some of the details of the mentoring relationship.
- How often are you going to meet and how long for?
- Be realistic - consider your other commitments
- Do you have any leave booked which may mean meetings need to be rescheduled?
- Where are you going to meet?
- Consider confidentiality
- Do you need to book a room?
- Consider ease of getting to the location
- What are your expectations of your mentor/mentee?
- Do you want a formal or informal relationship, structured meetings or unstructured?
- Be clear
- Be open to negotiating and compromising
- What are your goals for the relationship?
- These could be almost anything – to gain a skill, to enhance your career, to grow your network etc
- What steps might you put in place to monitor the accomplishment of these goals?
- Can you be contacted at any other time, through email or phone?
- Will you document anything throughout the process? E.g. goals, action plans.
At the first meeting it is also a good idea to share information about yourself, so that you and your mentor/mentee can get to know each other better. Consider talking about the following:
- Your background – personal and professional
- Your myCareer plan or more general goals that you have for yourself. These may or may not be able to be incorporated into the goals of the mentoring relationship.
- Your interests outside work
8. How can I create a successful mentoring relationship?
A mentoring relationship can help different people achieve different things, at different stages in their lives - be it gaining a skill, re-energising their network or getting a fresh perspective on an issue or problem. Common to all these situations however are some key qualities that the mentee and mentor can bring to the relationship to help it work well. Below are two non-exclusive lists of what qualities can help a mentee and a mentor get the most out of their mentoring relationship.
Mentors get the most out of a mentoring relationship when they:
- Are committed to helping colleagues achieve their goals and potential
- Are an active listener
- Are patient and can easily give encouragement
- Ability to provide feedback in a way that is challenging and supportive
- Are accessible and committed
Mentees get the most out of a mentoring relationship when they:
- Are interested in their own career development
- Take responsibility for their own personal and professional development
- Are open to receiving both positive and negative feedback
- Are willing to accept new challenges
- View change and growth in a positive way
- Can set goals and work towards them
- Have a desire to learn
It is important to realise that not all mentoring relationships are the same. Depending on the goals you set, your relationship may last 4 or 5 meetings, or it may last well beyond. There are no rules surrounding how long a “good” relationship should last for.
When it is recognised that the relationship may be coming to its natural end (when, for example, the goals of the mentee are close to being met) it is important to acknowledge this and plan for the formal ending of the relationship. This is just as important as the effort that goes into starting up a mentoring relationship as this closure is important for enabling both the mentor and mentee to adjust to life without the relationship.
9. I am having trouble with my mentor/mentee, what should I do?
Therefore, like in other relationships, communication is important. This applies right from the beginning in that it is important that your clearly communicate your goals and expectations for the relationship. Communication about progress and what is working and not working in the relationship should occur regularly.
If at any stage you feel that the relationship is breaking down and you want advice, please contact your local HR team or email@example.com
For UNSW Staff ONLY (for partners and affiliates please reach out to your local HR department)
Please also remember that if you think that counselling assistance is more appropriate, please utilise our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Benestar which is a confidential, free and independent service for all UNSW staff and their families. Information about the EAP can be obtained at http://www.wellbeing.unsw.edu.au/eap-benestar or by calling 1300 360 364.