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To be successful in any field, aspiring contracting specialists require role models and guidance. This is especially true in government acquisition as increasing number of acquisition team members’ turnover or at times work out of the office. At some point during your career, you may have considered becoming a mentor but dismissed the idea, thinking it would not be worth the time and energy you put into it. It is time to rethink your decision. Being a mentor is more important than ever-and you will get more out of the relationship than you think.
A mentor affects the professional life of a mentee by fostering insight, identifying needed knowledge, and expanding growth opportunities. This assistance supplements the coaching an individual already receives from his or her supervisor. Traditionally, the mentoring relationship consists of an experienced contracting professional providing guidance and advice to an associate with less experience. The specialist is looking to move up the career ladder, usually by learning from someone who is successful and well respected.
Mentoring gives you the extraordinary opportunity to facilitate a mentee’s personal and professional growth by sharing knowledge you learned through years of experience. While the primary intent of your mentoring role is to challenge the mentee to think in new and different ways, the mentee is not the only one who gains from the arrangement. As a mentor, there are various ways you can benefit as well.
The experience you gain by mentoring someone can facilitate your own professional growth, making you more of an asset to the Veteran. Mentoring allows you to strengthen your coaching and leadership skills by working with individuals from different backgrounds and with different personality types. For example, as a mentor you can help bridge the gap between generations that have varying workplace values and styles, such as Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. Your ability to manage people different from you is a valuable skill, especially as the workplace continues to grow more diverse. Besides enhancing your skills, mentoring can improve your performance. One of your roles as a mentor is to set a good example for your mentee. Knowing that you are responsible for providing appropriate and accurate guidance to him or her motivates you to work harder. Furthermore, mentoring can give you a fresh perspective on your performance. One of our resent Warrant Board participant told me she believes she passed by being a mentor.
Your role as a mentor can contribute to the success of your entire organization. As a lead acquisition professional, you know the importance of developing and retaining good employees. By priming promising employees to become top-performing specialist and by providing them with the challenges, support, and commitment needed to keep them in the VA, your mentoring efforts effectively address issues of succession planning and retention.
The VA has an informal mentor/mentee program, meaning you match yourselves. The Acquisition Career Manager (ACM) office provides guidance to our mentoring program. These job aids give additional information on successful mentoring. Additionally, both the mentor and mentee can earn up to 20 CLPs annually, use the ACMs Learning Request form to request your points. We generally get one point per session. Please remember to keep your supervisors in the know of your mentoring efforts.
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