A Win-Win Situation
Benefit from ASQ’s Fellows Mentoring Program
by Russ Wescott
How would you like to:
- Apply, reinforce and enhance your knowledge and skills?
- Tap into resources you’d forgotten you have?
- Uncover new opportunities through collaboration?
- Lead an individual toward discovering and achieving his or her potential?
- Be truly appreciated for what you do?
- Build prestige for your sponsoring professional society (ASQ)?
- Attain the satisfaction of being the person who guided the successes of another person?
- Learn a different life perspective—different culture, lifestyle, ethnicity and practices?
- Attain the above benefits with a minimum time expenditure and no monetary cost?
When I was invited to join ASQ’s Fellows Mentoring Program, I signed on immediately. It was a no-cost opportunity to sharpen my knowledge and skills and focus my management, consulting and career-coaching experience on helping a person who wanted and appreciated guidance.
The person I mentor has management experience and a college education. He is striving to establish a consulting business in his native, English-speaking African country. New to ASQ, he took advantage of the mentoring program.
We have exchanged photos, talked once by phone and maintain nearly weekly contact via e-mail. Our exchanges are a mix of activity updates, document and strategy critiques, and personal chitchat.
Lucky for me, English is his primary language. His goal is to get large companies with in-country facilities to embrace environmental, health and safety issues and certification to ISO 14000, the environmental management standard.
Initially, I worried a bit about whether I would be able to establish a relationship if the person I was assigned to mentor did not share a lot of the same concerns, issues and needs. I reflected on my less-than-enjoyable stint as an instructor for English as a second language. My expectation was to help U.S. residents learn English to enhance their job opportunities and eventually attain citizenship. It didn’t turn out that way. Most of the people assigned to me were all non-U.S. residents whose motivation was to learn enough English to better enjoy their vacations in the United States.
Good matching process
For the Fellows Mentoring Program, ASQ’s matching process worked well. The person I mentor needs the kind of guidance I can provide. He is a professional and belongs to ASQ. He has a compatible background and experience. We can, and now do, treat each other as equals with common objectives. Our mentoring relationship has been ongoing for nearly a year now, and we plan to continue.
The time I spend exchanging e-mails with him is 30 to 60 minutes per week. My only out-of-pocket expense was the postage to send him a copy of my Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence Handbook.1 For this infinitesimal investment of time and money, I keep my knowledge updated and my coaching skills honed, help another professional and add to ASQ’s reputation. It is an extremely rewarding win-win situation.
- Russell T. Westcott, ed., Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence Handbook, ASQ Quality Press, 2006.
Russell T. Westcott is an ASQ fellow, certified quality auditor and certified manager of quality/organizational excellence (CMQ/OE). He is editor of the third edition of the Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence Handbook, co-editor of the Quality Improvement Handbook and author of Simplified Project Management for Quality Professionals and Stepping Up to ISO 9004:2000. Westcott is also an instructor of the ASQ CMQ/OE refresher course. Based in Old Saybrook, CT, he heads the Offerjost-Westcott Group, a work-life planning and career-coaching firm that is a subsidiary of R.T. Westcott & Associates.