Learning through mentoring circles
Shell’s mentoring circles are an opportunity for employees to enhance their professional and personal skills through discussion, listening and challenging each other.
The Women’s Network at Shell holds mentoring circles in locations around the world including Australia, Brazil, Norway, Egypt, US, Brunei, Malaysia, Qatar, UK, Singapore and Germany. These are an opportunity for men and women to tap into the knowledge of a senior mentor within the company, expand their networks and gain a broader knowledge of Shell.
In small groups, participants work together with a mentor, aiming to improve their effectiveness and develop their careers even further.
In Australia, the circles have covered the following topics: Shaping your career and identity in Shell, Having a successful career while being a parent, Identifying and seizing development opportunities and Taking on the challenges of a technical career.
The Perth Women’s Network (PWN) recently ran a batch of five sessions, which proved so successful that the people who took part are still meeting regularly.
Here, two PWN members involved in coordinating the mentoring circles - and some participants - share their experiences.
Tracey Jerrat, Shell Australia Domestic Gas Manager, has been with Shell for 15 years. She has worked in a number of commercial roles across major gas projects.
When asked to coordinate a mentoring circle, she realised it would be a unique opportunity not only to share her knowledge and experiences but also learn from others.
“My circle’s discussions were focused on how to have a successful career and be a parent,” Tracey said. “The dynamic of linking into a group with 11 or 12 people is a great way of connecting with people from different disciplines that you may not have had much contact with otherwise. You realise a lot of people are going through very similar personal experiences – I saw a tangible connecting of people.
“I am very passionate about flexible learning and one of the main ingredients in these sessions was trust. We all agreed that whatever was shared in the room would not be discussed elsewhere. The diversity in the group also created an interesting learning experience – we had a leadership team member in the group and the range in seniority made the circle that much more interesting. It truly was a learning and development opportunity for everyone.”
Dan McDougall, Integrity Manager for Prelude FLNG, joined Shell in 2013.
Dan’s mentoring circle discussions focused on identifying and seizing development opportunities. “I’ve always been passionate about supporting other team members and sharing skills,” he said. “It’s important for leaders to develop other leaders.
“In my circle, it became clear that identifying role models and recognising that there is no perfect career path can be really helpful for a person’s development. We took the opportunity to invite senior leaders to talk to the group and share their career journeys. The group enjoyed listening to them talk about personal challenges, the barriers they faced and the times they’ve had to say no to roles. Everyone appreciated their honesty.
“I wanted to tailor the coaching and mentoring to meet the needs of the whole group. Listening and talking to each other meant we all took something away from the experience.”
What the participants said
“It was encouraging to see a male role model in an all-female circle, I think it provided us a unique opportunity to see a different perspective, as well as reveal ours - so a win-win.”
“The sessions have really helped me navigate Shell and assisted me in deciding my future direction in the company.”
“Really happy with the sessions – very useful and collaborative.”
“A great environment for sharing/exploring. Topics were tailored to the interests of the group, with a focus on sharing tools and resources, and a commitment to put what we've learned into action.”
More in Career advancement at Shell
You may also be interested in
We believe in creating an inclusive culture where you can thrive. Find out why diversity and inclusion is important to Shell.
Your work-life balance is important. Discover some of the different flexible working arrangements available.