The privilege of being a mentor

February 11, 2021

Why is mentoring so important for healthcare leaders? With a new round of the VHA and Department of Health’s mentoring program about to begin, we asked experienced mentor Tass Mousaferiadis to explain the benefits of being a mentor.


Why is mentoring important, particularly for healthcare leaders?
Healthcare leaders are part of a complex and integrated system where each of us has a role to play in making that system work effectively. We can’t do it all on our own but collectively we can make it so much better. We all have our roles including our strengths and weaknesses, and if I can contribute in some way that gives me a whole lot of pleasure. For me, mentoring is about healthcare leaders working together to build a strong culture, and refine and improve capability in the system.


What have you taken away from being a mentor in VHA’s mentoring program?
Mentoring is a really good way to contribute but also to learn. We never stop learning as human beings and the environment we live and work in is constantly changing. We have to constantly adapt to a complex and changing environment, and to think you can continue to do things the same way is actually not good enough.

Mentoring also gives me a great opportunity to reflect on my own personal experiences and help refine my practices hopefully resulting in better outcomes.


What is your top tip for building an effective mentoring relationship?
Deep listening, building an environment of trust and a culture of openness. Only then will you feel comfortable and willing to draw on and reflect on your own experiences and challenges.


What skills do you need to make mentoring work?
The most important task for a mentor is to listen and to point in the right direction. My role is to listen and ask questions. To question rather than offer direct advice.

It’s also important to have a sense of humility because none of us know everything. Be brave enough to admit to that and search out support or guidance. All of us need to be able to do that.


Why should other healthcare leaders consider becoming mentors?
It is such a privilege to be able to share experiences and assist others. I almost see this as a duty for healthcare leaders. Leadership roles can at times be lonely and creating time in a trusted environment for reflection can only lead to growth.

Personally, I encourage all CEOs I work with to have their own mentor, and I build this into their individual performance and development plans. Every CEO needs a safe place, with an independent ear to help them reflect on their performance and refine their practice.


Are you interested in becoming a mentor? Learn more here.