The DairySage mentoring program kicked off at Maleny, Qld, last year with mentees and mentors coming together for a two-day workshop. Barb Bishop and Robyn Richards were the trainers for the program and delivered an amazing two days for all participants, preparing the group for a great six-month mentoring journey.
DairySage Mentoring aims to provide the dairy industry with a framework to establish mentoring relationships through partnering experienced, inspirational and dynamic mentors with dairying people from all sectors of the industry.
The two-day workshop began with just the mentees who were taken through a personal development journey exploring topics such as 'Taking Charge of Yourself', 'How to AIM 4 Action' and 'How to Effectively Network with People'.
Taking Charge Chances: seizing all opportunities that are presented.
Choices: deciding what is really wanted.
Change: how to unfreeze negative behaviours, change them and then train to refreeze the new behaviour.
Mentees learnt how it is important to communicate and act "above the line" with honesty, respect and responsibility instead of negative "below the line" talk, such as blaming others for things the mentees had done by and making excuses for things that they had not done.
Mentees were challenged to change their communication by identifying when they were speaking below the line and to practice and retrain so they were speaking and living above the line.
AIM 4 Action Many people have big ideas but do not end up achieving them as they have no action plan that breaks them down into smaller and incremental steps. For goals to be powerful, they need to be set as an AIM
Achievable: Goals should be achievable; they should stretch a person slightly so they feel challenged, but defined well enough so that they can achieve them. People must possess the appropriate knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to achieve the goal.
People can meet almost any goal when they plan their steps wisely and establish a timeframe that allows them to carry out those steps. As they carry out the steps, they can achieve goals that may have seemed impossible when you started. On the other hand, if a goal is impossible to achieve, a person may not even try to accomplish it. Achievable goals motivate people. Impossible goals de-motivate people.
In time: Goals should be linked to a timeframe that creates a practical sense of urgency or results in tension between the current reality and the vision of the goal. Without such tension, the goal is unlikely to produce a relevant outcome.
Measurable: Goals should be measurable so that people have tangible evidence that they have accomplished the goal. Usually, the entire goal statement is a measure for the project, but there are usually several short-term or smaller measurements built into the goal.
Networking Some people see networking as a chore, and they think of it as "schmoozing" or "politicking". However, when people do it right, networking is simply a way to make solid, useful connections with others. These connections and relationships then open doors for that person and help them do things that would be hard to achieve otherwise.
Mentee participants were taken through a session on how to setup a successful mentoring session. Having a plan before they went to an event that identifies who they wanted to network with and why and then develop a few "elevator pitches' that will get them started with initiating a conversation with someone.
The mentees then got to test out their new networking skills with the mentors over pre-dinner drinks where they were set the task to seek out three mentors and strike up a conversation with them so that they could find out who would be the best mentor for them during the program.
The matching process The mentors for the program were initially brought together for an afternoon session on 'how to be a successful mentor' and the roles and responsibilities of being a mentor in this program. As this is the first time that a lot of the mentors have officially performed such a role, this session was a great way to prep the mentors before meeting with the mentees.
The mentoring matching process started with afternoon tea where the mentors were able to meet the mentees. The rotating dinner seating allowed for every mentee to have a half-hour discussion with each of the mentors. This gave everyone the opportunity to get to know each other and to network about the mentor's background and what skills and experience they could offer to the mentee. The mentee then wrote down the three mentors that they thought could best assist them in achieving their goals.
The program will now continue to facilitate each of these mentoring partnerships with group monthly phone hookup, a private facebook group for all the participants to communicate as well as some one on one online sessions with the trainers.
The DairySage mentoring program was originally developed by WestVic Dairy and the People in Dairy team from Dairy Australia with funding provided by the Geoffrey Gardiner Dairy Foundation.
Subtropical Dairy Young Dairy Network has adapted and delivered the program for this region through funding received from the Federal Department of Social Services.