What is mentorship?
Everyone has some deep-seated goal but the vast majority of people never fulfil their full potential and few do the job or work or activity that they really want to do in life. Mentorship is a vehicle to attaining one’s goals and passions. A mentor gives you the boost to realise for yourself that you can change your path, no matter how difficult it might seem. A mentor helps to give you the courage and strength of character to aim for what you really want from your business and/or social life.
Why is it important?
Mentorship is crucial to the personal growth and personal development of everyone, not just professionals. Everyone, at some point in life, wonders why they are doing what they are doing and starts asking themselves where they are heading. ‘Emotional Health’ and ‘Emotional Wealth’ come to the fore of one’s thinking. Mentorship helps to answer these questions and gives more meaning to life. It is a way of realising one’s ambition or passion as well as improving the quality of many other aspects of life, i.e., social, family, etc.
Who needs a mentor?
Mentorship has traditionally been geared towards junior staff as a means of steering them in the right direction. However, it is probably most needed by senior staff who have to take the lead for their services. It is lonely at the top and many professionals can feel very guilty about asking for help or advice. Mentorship is a way round this. It provides a safe environment to voice aspirations, fears, etc. I personally believe that mentorship should be provided at all levels. It is also very useful for owners of a home-based business as such businesses can be very isolating.
What is its association with ‘wisdom’?
Mentorship is great for the cross-fertilisation of ideas across the traditional boundaries of one’s department, field, place of work, organisation, etc. I believe that mentorship is definitely an ingredient to ‘wisdom’. Both the mentor and the mentee learn from the experience. In many cultures learning is seen as lasting a lifetime. The smarter a mentor becomes, the smarter the mentee becomes.
What is the timescale on a mentor/mentee relationship?
This is agreed between the mentor and mentee. The actual amount of time is not as important as the quality time spent. Both the mentor and mentee must get out of the relationship what they expected. If at the end of the contracted period the relationship still has life in it, then the contract could be extended. However, it is important to have some sort of closure as it is rare to only need a single mentor for the whole of one’s business or social life.