Culture Series: The Benefits Of Having A Mentor

It has been an amazing journey to be part of and I regularly reflect on the incredible achievements that have been accomplished to date from researching, designing, building, testing, maintaining, and transferring the vital services to help the people of Scotland.

Article by Social Security


My name is Gavin Rautman and I am a Product Owner in the Social Security Programme. I have been part of the Social Security family since 2017, working in both the Social Security Programme and Social Security Scotland. 

It has been an amazing journey to be part of and I regularly reflect on the incredible achievements that have been accomplished to date from researching, designing, building, testing, maintaining, and transferring the vital services to help the people of Scotland. All this has been done at an unprecedented pace, size, and scale of delivery and, when you add in having to do it during a global pandemic then it is a phenomenal achievement.

Since joining Scottish Government, I have learned and grown so much both personally and professionally. I have had the privilege of working with many talented, skilful, driven, motivated, and caring people during this time.

At the end of 2022, I felt inspired to take stock of my career and pondered what the next stage in my journey would be. Throughout my civil service career, I have been extremely fortunate and grateful to have had managers / senior leaders and colleagues who provided me with support whenever I needed it. However, at this stage in my career, it felt clear that I needed to find a mentor – someone who could help me shape the next steps in my career.

I registered my interest with the Product Management Mentoring Scheme after attending a presentation.  I was paired with a mentor, and we have been meeting monthly ever since.

During our first session we focused on what I wanted to achieve in the short and long-term and how my mentor could help. Together, we developed a plan which was split into short, medium, and long-term goals and also took into consideration the tools / skills I needed to hone or gain at each stage.

Just like everything else, being mentored might not be for everyone; but if you have ever considered getting a mentor, but are not sure how they can help you, below is my list of five key benefits.

Mentors take you under their wing and help keep you motivated, focused, and keep you on track towards your goals

My mentor has been like my co-pilot, keeping me going in the right direction even if I have not been confident or doubted myself.

For me it is important to have someone who can share their experiences and views. It allows me to look at issues, problems, opportunities, etc with a different perspective.

Focusing on your health and well-being

I sometimes find it hard when I have milestones and deadlines to meet and my to do list is long.  For me, it is important to recognise my triggers and when to act on them to maintain a good work life balance. My mentor always reminds me of the importance of leading by example and taking time to relax and recharge so I can come back refreshed.

Mentors share their knowledge and learning from their experiences

My mentor has years of digital transformation and delivery experience and I have found it helpful to get as many hints, tips and small nuggets of information as I can during our sessions; I often find myself using these on a day-to-day basis and sharing with my team and colleagues.

Challenging yourself to become the best you can be

 Like many people, I have experienced self-doubt, but my mentor has been able to offer the right balance of support and reassurance to help me face challenges head on and not shy away from them.

When things seem too big, mentors can help

Sometimes it is hard when I am caught up in the detail to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. During our sessions, I have learned to do this and have become more objective, which has helped me see opportunities clearer which helps me plan my next steps.

The ability to have a space to allow me to think more clearly has been priceless and has eased any stress or anxiety I would’ve previously experienced.

All this sounds simple – and a lot of people might be able to do many of these things on their own – but I have experienced the benefit of having a mentor and sometimes it’s the simple things that make the biggest difference.

Mentors can be there as little or as often as you need them, it all depends on what you require.  My mentor and I check-in with each other regularly and I sometimes ask for ad-hoc advice or support when needed.

I hope sharing my mentoring journey helps you decide if you would benefit from having a mentor now or in the future.

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