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'Mentoring is beneficial in any organisation'

Published August 16th, 2017

HR’s Philip Coffey knew he was on to something when he was involved with a pilot mentoring programme in ASD in 2015. The pilot involved 30 matches and straightaway the feedback was positive. “I saw that there was huge value in it,” the HR partner says, “and I saw how impactful it could be.”

That was all the proof he needed to approach Chief Operating Officer (COO) Geraldine Ruane, looking for her support in rolling it out to all of CSD’s admin staff. With Geraldine’s backing, along with the Vice Provost and faculty deans, the extended programme was opened to all staff in summer 2016. The programme ended up with 110 matches.

The college already had mentoring programmes in place for academics yet there were none for admin staff, which didn’t seem to make sense.

Role model
“Mentoring is highly beneficial in any organisation,” says Philip, “particularly when it’s large and where you mightn’t understand what’s going on outside your own silo. People should always have a mentor – someone they see as a role model.”

A fringe benefit of the programme has been its ability to help break down those silos. The mentoring is done in tandem with a complete career development programme. HR devised a six-module training schedule. This was delivered at intervals throughout the year with the final module, on Leadership Styles, taking place in June 2017.

Mentees found these sessions particularly helpful in connecting with colleagues outside of their own divisions. A comment from one mentee stated: “Career development modules are very useful as you get to interact with other colleagues outside of your own area and at different levels in Trinity.”

This type of training can often be undervalued, says Philip. “It is often treated as the thing that can be dropped – people feel that their development doesn’t matter. But people should realise it’s OK to invest in yourself.”

So, what of its participants? Has this mentoring and career development given employees a chance to feel empowered about their careers, giving them something positive to focus on? Gauging by feedback it certainly seems so.

Many of the mentees commented on how helpful the process has been. Some of the comments included: “The programme has benefitted Trinity but more importantly me, my family and my community through the change it has brought about in my outlook.” Another added: “I think the programme is a step forward in aiding professional staff to explore career possibilities here.”

From the mentors’ perspective it’s been an equally positive experience, with 71% finding the programme beneficial when surveyed back in February. One mentor even went so far as to say: “Absolutely brilliant. Well done to the team. The most revolutionary thing to happen for support staff in years.”

  • For more information on mentoring in Trinity contact

Main photo: Philip Coffey (far right) standing next to Geraldine Ruane at the launch of the programme in 2016