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The Institute of Community Directors Australia has partnered with Kilfinan to provide mentoring to not-for-profit CEOs. Kilfinan shares our vision of empowering the community sector through quality governance education, support and networking.

Kilfinan Australia provides confidential, free, one-on-one mentoring to the CEOs of charities and not-for-profit organisations by senior corporate and business sector leaders.

Inspired by the UK Kilfinan Group, Kilfinan Australia was launched in 2014 and operates nationally in Australia and New Zealand.

Kilfinan's corporate mentors bring a breadth of knowledge and interests to their mentoring relationships. Each relationship is unique and created by the two individuals involved.

Once matched, a mentor and mentee structure their relationship to fit their specific needs and styles of interaction. Rather than give professional advice, the mentors work with the mentees to help them come to their own decisions. Mentors and mentees usually meet at least five to six times per year.

A mentoring relationship is built on mutual trust, respect and communication, and provides both mentor and mentee with a wide range of personal and professional benefits - ultimately leading to improved performance in the workplace.

Kilfinan Australia mentors:

  • Listen to issues and challenges.
  • Give practical suggestions.
  • Offer alternative approaches.
  • Share access to other sources of support or ideas.
  • Build the mentee's self-confidence.
  • Help crystallise priorities and develop action plans.
  • Provide insights about working with boards.
  • Discuss different ways to effectively manage performance.
  • Decrease the mentees' feelings of isolation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Your mentor's role is to mentor you, the individual. The intent is that your mentor helps you think through challenges and problems and find solutions. Your board or senior management team may be a part of these challenges. You can be assured of your mentor's independence and commitment to confidentiality.

To be eligible to participate in the mentoring program, mentees must be currently working as a CEO for a charity registered with the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission.

Most meetings last about two hours.

We recommend at least five to six meetings a year, with possible telephone and/or email contact in between. If meetings are more frequent, your mentor could become too hands on, or feel imposed upon. Agree at the start of your mentoring relationship a balance that suits both of you, and be prepared to review your decision if there is a radical change of circumstances.

It is best to meet where you can both feel relaxed and yet be business-like in your discussions. It could be over a coffee or in your mentor's office. A neutral, 'private' space is usually best.

Some last for many years, however, most CEOs outgrow their mentors which is generally a good thing for both parties. It can be useful to set up an expected end date for the relationship. We have found the average length of time for a productive mentoring relationship is about two years, however, some mentoring pairs may set new goals and continue working together.

'Chemistry' is important and the relationship will struggle to be successful if you can't stand each other. The key is that you respect and make the effort to understand each other. Sometimes the two parties can be initially unsure of each other partly because each is unfamiliar with the other's experience and work environment.

Kilfinan Australia is a confidential service, so there is no expectation that your mentor should have contact with your chair, board members or any of the staff, unless you believe this would be helpful. Remember that you as an individual are being mentored not your organisation.

The confidentiality rules apply. Your mentor is entrusted with looking after your best interests. Your mentor can help you review the opportunity and your reasons for considering leaving - helping you test whether this is a good choice.

We are mentoring the individual not the organisation, so decisions about whether you share the fact that you are being mentored rests with you.

We highly recommend you make the next appointment to meet before you close the current meeting. Experience suggests that it is preferable to keep the relationship continuous as this creates maximum benefit. The onus for arranging meetings rests with both parties but if your mentor fails to respond to your suggestions to meet, then this may indicate that the relationship should be drawn to a close. Kilfinan's Executive Directors can assist if this occurs.

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