There’s no greater relief than realising you’ve prepared for the unexpected. The culmination of your efforts is rewarded with the security that comes from knowing that you’re equipped for the challenges you face.
That’s the comfort and assurance that Jodi Fisher FIML, HR Manager for the Health Services Union in NSW, Queensland and ACT, received after becoming the mentee of seasoned mentor Rod Halliday FIML. Halliday’s decades of mentoring experience, through his IML ANZ Membership and his mentoring service, Australian Business Mentors, meant he had the experience, temperament and discernment that gave Fisher the support she needed.
“The mentoring lessons I received from Rod has stood the test of time,” reflects Fisher. While COVID-19 may have drastically changed the world of work, Fisher was aware she now had the tools to thrive despite the difficulties.
“I took away many truths from my time with Rod, but the most valuable thing that I learned through him was developing an anti-fragile personality and embracing the unknown. Because, pandemic or not, I still need to manage people through change, I still need to conduct difficult conversations, and I will always need to be ethical,” she explains.
Perhaps the lessons stuck well with Fisher because, through many years of practice and experience, Halliday could tell the type of guidance each of his mentees need.
Halliday explains, “Every mentee is different. They come from different backgrounds and industries. But one thing that all of them have in common is that there is always something that is causing them stress and is affecting their ability to lead. I seem to have been able to master how to draw out that thing which is causing them stress.”
In Fisher’s case, Halliday observed that she might have been struggling to cope with change. “Jodi came from a [commercially] successful business and found herself in a completely different environment when she joined the union,” he recalls.
In the end, it was when her mentor helped her to exit her comfort zone that truly helped Fisher to grow. “I hadn’t realised that I was on cruise control, that I was settling rather than thriving. So, having those moments of discomfort or challenging what has become normal, those became moments of truth, and that was the missing piece for me.”
And that growth is what brings joy to mentors like Halliday. “I get a tremendous kick out of being able to help [mentees] and to see them grow. To me, that’s worth more than money,” he says.
So profound is the impact of mentoring for leaders like Halliday that he explains its value this way: “A trusted mentor gives a confidential, safe place to try out ideas, skills and roles at minimum risk, and helps senior executives with their shortcomings and with the challenges they may be facing. Business mentors can make senior executives think in ways they have never thought before and, in many cases, provide a new or different perspective. Managers who take on a mentor are people who know what they don’t know and are not afraid to get help.”
Indeed, Fisher agrees. “Nothing becomes real unless you experience it. As a mentee that’s what we draw upon from our mentors, their experience,” she says.
Looking for a mentor?
IML ANZ Members enjoy access to our complimentary four-month mentoring program, Member Exchange.