The mentor is the coach, guide, facilitator and trusted advisor. It is someone willing to spend his or her time and expertise to guide the development of another person, a chosen mentee, without asking for anything in return.
The mentor uses techniques of active listening and asking questions in order to offer new directions in mentee’s thinking and actions, and to provide support in challenging situations. The mentor can be younger or older, from the same or different background than the mentee, but should be chosen based on mentee’s needs and challenges.
What the mentor should be doing depends to a large degree on the purpose of the specific mentoring program or relationship. Most commonly, the mentor should:
- Establish and maintain a good rapport and necessary degree of trust with the mentee.
- Provide optimal instructions, suggestions, explanations, guidelines and advice.
- Provide the necessary and useful contacts for the mentee’s development.
- Provide stable support for mentee’s development for a specific period of time.
- Take stock of the realistic options in terms of career development and offer guidance in a timely manner.
- Provide analysis of the needed skills and give constructive feedback.
The word Mentor originates from the Greek mythology and is a name of a friend and a counselor of the hero Odysseus. When Odysseus went to the Trojan war, he left his son Telemachus in Mentor’s care.
Mentor is a key person in the career development of a chosen person and is responsible for his/her development. (USA, UK)
Mentor assists in the development of an individual on a professional, as well as on a personal plan. The individual takes responsibility for his/her own development. (Europe)
According to the dictionary, a mentee is a chosen student. It is a person who wishes to improve his/her current knowledge, to personally develop, to learn as well as to receive concrete advice and support. The mentee receives this support by being matched with the mentor who possesses relevant and adequate experience and knowledge.
Being a mentee requires openness to new ways of working and communicating, willingness to explore oneself, readiness for challenges and changes, and personal responsibility for one’s own learning and development.
Through the mentoring relationship the mentee:
• develops his/her self-awareness and self-esteem
• creates a better personal and professional development plan
• improves his/her own capacities
• enlarges an existing network of contacts.
Mentorship is a complex, interactive process which involves a transfer of knowledge and experience from a more skilled and experienced person, the MENTOR, to a less experienced person, the MENTEE. The aim of mentorship is to provide possibilities for the continuous improvement of skills and knowledge, personal development and career progression. It can be described as an inner and outer journey, the joint endeavor of the mentor and the mentee for a specific period of time during which the mentor performs the roles of a guide, a facilitator and a companion.
Even though the mentorship process is focused on mentee’s development, it generates numerous benefits for both mentor and mentee.
- Mentors have the opportunity for learning, specific problem-solving and personal development by comparing their own attitudes and truths with those of their mentees.
- Mentor can gain greater insights into the attitudes and values of different generations.
- Mentor can enlarge his/her network of contacts through the relationship with the mentee.
- Mentors can strengthen their personal position within the company or wider society as a consequence of the trust placed in them as mentors.
- With the mentor’s support, mentees can learn how to formulate goals for their own continuing development, on both personal and professional level.
- For the duration of the program, mentees have the possibility of direct communication with their mentors as their special conversational partners who provide them with advice and guidelines.
- The mentee has a unique opportunity to set aside the time for thinking, planning and self-analysis.
- Mentees can adopt life skills which can aid them in recognizing and avoiding uncomfortable and ill-advised situations and pitfalls both in their professional environments and in their private lives.
- Mentees can significantly enlarge their network of contacts with the mentor’s assistance.