In What Does “Mentoring” Truly Consist? Get Yourself A Mentor.


Every day, we are faced with the often daunting task of achieving our career and personal objectives and moving up the ladder. This can be exhausting and the probability of getting side-tracked due to a number of reasons is high. A mentor is useful for staying on track when you do not know how else to navigate the murky waters that life sometimes is. Mentoring is a symbiotic and mostly voluntary relationship between two people, one is more advanced in a career field than the other. Mentoring is advantageous to the mentee because it facilitates growth, guidance, and career advancement. An effective mentor serves as a sounding board, guide, and role model; passing along some of his experience to benefit the mentee and help him reach his career goals. The mentor develops a sense of pride and accomplishment from the career progress of his mentee.

Who Is A Mentor?

Mentorship is a mutually beneficial professional relationship in which an experienced individual (the mentor) imparts knowledge, expertise, and wisdom to a less experienced person (the mentee), while simultaneously honing their mentoring skills. Find more…

A mentoring relationship has many benefits for the mentee:

  • The privilege of expertise that the mentor brings to the table.
  • The mentor is key to helping the mentee develop key skills that are needed for career progression.
  • Mentors will bring you in touch with people who can assist you in growing in your journey. The more you network, the more helpful people you’ll encounter.
  • Apart from giving advice, mentors help to equip you with a myriad of methods and strategies that you can pull from throughout your career.
  • While some mentor-mentee relationships are brief, if you click with your mentor, you can develop a long-term partnership in which you and your mentor can work together for the rest of your career. This will provide you with the continuity and support you need on a successful career run.

Mentoring can take a formal or informal form and may evolve in nature as the needs of the mentee changes. With the formal method, your workplace or school appoints a mentor for you, who is usually someone who is ahead of you in the same field. Informal mentoring happens when two individuals form a relationship in which one receives experience, understanding, fellowship, and guidance from the other. Any party may begin a mentoring relationship, with the mentor assisting the protégé and the protégé benefiting from the wisdom of a trustworthy individual.

Career Mentorship

Mentoring gives the mentee a platform or avenue that enables him to look at perspectives fuelled with the superior experience and knowledge of the mentor.  However, the roles of both the mentor and mentee can sometimes get confusing and lines are easy to cross, thereby ruining the whole experience. Here we would be examining critically what exactly mentoring is and what it is not.

What mentoring is:

The main objective of mentoring is guidance and learning

A mentor is one who has walked the journey you are just embarking on and he is by your side to show you the loopholes to avoid. It is designed to help the mentee learn and grow in the needed areas, often focusing on developing complex skills. The mentoring process brings to the fore innovative insights and revelatory ways of thought or problem solving to both the mentee and the mentor. This will have long-term consequences for all partners, fostering creativity. In addition to this and to foster the process of learning and development, feedback is given to the mentee often on ways to improve and be more productive.

Having a mentor on the ground to guide you also encourages a higher level of self-awareness and accountability which is highly needed for career advancement.

Mentoring is based on a relationship.

Mentoring thrives more when there is a good relationship between the mentee and mentor, hence pairing should be done with the utmost care. A mentee should feel comfortable enough with the mentor to be able to share intricate details of his journey such as challenges, failures, etc., and be open to honest guidance. Unlike coaching and training which is usually transactional in nature and requires some form of payment, mentoring is usually free, an altruistic act on the part of the mentor. In the absence of a good relationship, mentoring will likely not yield many results or make much difference in the career progression of the mentee.

Mentoring is an accelerated way of getting new knowledge and skills.

John Crosby put it aptly when he said that a mentor is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction. A mentor has walked the journey you are embarking on and his wealth of experience helps you avoid making the same mistakes he did. In a good mentoring relationship, your time is put to more productive use because you are expertly guided on ventures that can accelerate your development such as courses to take, training to undergo, etc. With a mentor, you are helped to develop a broader view of opportunities and options; you are challenged and continually kept on your toes to be better. Find more of the knowledgable skills here

What Mentoring Is Not:

Mentoring is not the same as therapy.

It is important to note and understand that although your mentor is there to guide and help you get insight concerning your career development, it is not his job to help you with all your life problems. Mentoring should have a constant undercurrent of positivity; you should be talking about going forward and making change rather than focusing on your problems and concerns in a way that bogs down the mentorship. Do not muddle the mentoring relationship by clogging it with personal baggage and issues; that is a sure way to wear out your mentor and lose sight of the objective.

Mentoring is not a passive endeavor.

Mentoring is not wishing or a magic wand that would automatically catapult you to the zenith of your career. Without consistent effort and dedication from all parties involved, coupled with great communication, mentoring cannot yield significant results. Mentoring involves goal setting and an unwavering hunger on the part of the mentee coupled with a desire to impact and help on the part of the mentor. You cannot have great outputs with half-hearted input.

Mentoring is not a one-way street.

In times past, mentoring used to be hierarchical in nature but it has evolved into a symbiotic relationship that has benefits for both the mentor and the mentee; everybody must be bringing something to the table. With a rapidly changing career landscape and the relentless evolution of technology, we all need to rely on one another for practical information, experience, networks, and increasingly critical soft skills.


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