Although she was an experienced professional in her chosen field, Julie Fallon MIML felt she needed some mentoring input when she moved into a new role. She reached out to IML ANZ’s Member Exchange program and was paired with Melbourne-based leadership coach Ross Montalti FIML.
By Lachlan Colquhoun
Why did you join the Member Exchange program?
Julie Fallon: “I originally joined the program to offer my services as a mentor having been a mentor for others as part of my consultancy business. However, on opening my own medical practice to provide consulting rooms and administrative services to specialists, I felt I required assistance with strategy and focus to help sort out the plethora of ideas I have going around in my head.”
Ross Montalti: “I have been formally mentoring for more than 10 years, initially at the Melbourne University Business and Economics Faculty and then with Australian Management and Education Services. My corporate experience provided me with heaps of related learnings and I wanted to share that with those who might value it, as well as help me keep up-to-date in management and leadership theories and practices, especially as they relate to new workplace incumbents, such as millennials.”
What did you get out of the experience?
JF: “I received confirmation that my self-doubts were no different to anyone else in business, and confidence that I was achieving, and heading in the right direction. I also had understanding from someone like minded who could see me without me having to try so hard to get across what I needed. I had an objective perspective from someone outside looking in, who was able to see through my mass of information and bring me to a level where I could focus on what was important and begin to strategise on that basis. Most of all I got a willing, experienced businessperson to help me long term wherever they can assist, even if it is just as a sounding board. Hopefully I got a lifelong friend who understands my business and me.”
RM: “So far, it has been an interesting journey. My discussions with my mentee are helping me appreciate that not much has changed since I was in a managerial/leadership role. I am learning that managers and leaders these days have the same set of workplace priorities, and perhaps these priorities are not as well dealt with in the case of people, resulting in ‘people issues’ seeming to take a back seat. The business side of things is still the same: set measurable and achievable goals; set priorities; surround yourself with people you trust, appreciate and can work with; get help if/when you need it; and review business results until you get the desired outcomes. Do this collaboratively, keeping your team informed and with a customer perspective in mind, and sustainable positive business results will be institutionalised.”
What did you learn from each other?
JF: “I learned that there are other people out there who just want to help you be the best you can be, with no judgement or criticism. I learned about who Ross is as a person, his personal insight, and experience as a businessman. I think I actually learned more about myself than Ross through this process. It really made me sit back and analyse both my business, my goals in business and life, what I actually want to achieve, and why. Ross helped me help myself, while providing amazing support, which is what it is all about.
RM: “I’m still learning, but so far I have learned more about the medical ‘business’ side of things from my mentee than I would have imagined. I have learned that I need to keep asking questions, not only to help me understand but hopefully also assist my mentee to get to the bottom of any issue, and move forward with a clear focus, and achievable and realistic result in mind.”
Would you recommend the program to others?
RM: “Yes. It’s a way of staying in touch with business realities, checking out whether what we did in the past actually worked, and helping Australian businesses – and more importantly, managers and leaders – grow and achieve their business outcomes, and personal aspirations.”