The importance in professional mentorship.
Benjamin Franklin once said, ““Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” The ACHE as a professional organization provides many benefits to membership. One of these benefits is the capacity to connect with colleague and experts in the field of health care administration. In South Carolina, we have over 700 members who are practicing executives with many, many years of experience. Think of the opportunity that you possess to carry out a legacy to new and future executives in health care.
Your ability to inspire future leaders requires only two things, an aspiring learner and you as a role models. In health care whether as a clinician or an executive, we maintain this legacy of bringing alongside the new generation. Where we as executives are today is a building process, each mounting information, ability, skill, and acumen atop of what we know and learned from our predecessors. At some time during your career, you may have been asked to considered becoming a mentor to others, but chose not to do so because of either time commitment or desire. I would encourage you to reevaluate your decision. With the changing face of health care in our country today, your role as a mentor is more important than ever. You may find this to be more rewarding to you as well.
What is a mentor and how do I become one?
Your role as a mentor affects the professional life of a mentee by fostering insight. Your guidance helps them to identify needed knowledge, and expanding growth opportunities. Your mentorship provides additional assistance by coaching an individual who already receives leadership skill from his or her manager or supervisor. Traditionally, in health care leadership the mentoring relationship consists of an experienced executive providing guidance and advice to an associate with less experience. The mentee is looking to move up the career ladder, usually by learning from someone who is successful and well respected.
To gain the most from this new mentoring relationship, develop a formal agreement that outlines the roles and expectations of both participants. This agreement should describe details such as meeting dates and time, how frequently this interaction should occur and the duration of this experience as well as expectations for success.
Based upon need, the duration and frequency of mentoring varies. Many mentoring partnerships will meet or have a discussion once or twice a week for about an hour. The content and the format of these meetings may vary, but usually revolve around a project or a brainstorming session to solve problems, update a previous discussion or provide insight and focused discussion of professional development topics. Be wary of the relationship where the mentee considers this relationship an inside edge to a job role. Although, we have all learned over the course of time every opportunity is a potential job opportunity. But you as the mentor can make that decision based upon your perspective. This relationship should be a respectful and professional relationship in which both the mentor and mentee can learn from the experience and each other. Remember that mentoring is about sharing knowledge and expertise in a way that benefits both participants and thereby helps to build and strengthen the professional work environment.
In the circle of professionalism and as an ACHE member, the mentee should remember their opportunity to learn, then, share their successes with a new generation and become a mentor. We are never too old or too young in our career to teach, to learn, or to grow. Please reach out to our Growth and Development and/or our Advancement Committee to learn how you may benefit and give of your time as a mentor.
Donald M. Peace, PhD, FACHE
President, SC Chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives